Grade 8: Writing an Objective Summary (Abby Sparrow)


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Reading Informational Text

RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


This video lesson titled “Writing an Objective Summary (Abby Sparrow)” from is the second lesson in a unit of four lessons, each with a suggested instructional time of 60 minutes.  This individual lesson excerpt shows an eighth grade class undertaking a close reading of a complex non-fiction text with a focus on using text evidence to write objective summaries of the text.  Throughout the lesson, first with the teacher modeling to the whole class and then working in small groups, students identify and annotate relevant text evidence, discuss evidence from the text, and draw inferences from the evidence.  Teacher observations regularly assesses whether students are mastering targeted skills, or if they are in need of further support.   The culminating lesson task is for students to use text evidence to independently write an objective summary of the final passage of the text.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the America Achieves website requires users to set up a free account to access all materials.  On the full website, there are resources included with the lesson videos that should be viewed prior to implementing instruction.  Before  this lesson is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA CCSS listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this lesson as well as additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards.  Teachers should be aware that they will need to create an aligned rubric that can be used to clearly evaluate students’ independent progress toward meeting the standards listed with the lesson.


This lesson is a good example of how to provide all students with multiple opportunities to engage with text of appropriate complexity and instructional scaffolding so that students directly experience the complexity of the text. In a diverse classroom setting, the lesson excerpt and its resources clearly address some key shifts in the CCSS: reading text closely, text-based evidence, writing from sources, academic vocabulary, and building disciplinary knowledge.  The video includes labeled stopping points of some of these shifts in instruction, as well as a printable lesson plan and support materials.  Included with the lesson materials is a video of teachers discussing/ questioning the rationale for key changes required by Common Core Standards, a Common Core shift analysis video, and a guide to creating text-dependent questions.  Although a specific text is used in this lesson, it could be used with any text that requires students to draw evidence to write objective summaries.  The resource materials could also be used in a professional development setting.