Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time 30 minutes per session
Lesson Author

Che-Mai Gray

Marysville, Washington


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



In this series of lessons, students read newspaper articles obtained from newspaper websites. Students then identify journalism's "5 Ws and 1 H" (who, what, when, where, why, and how) and complete a template with the corresponding information they have found in the article. Finally, students use their notes to write a 20-word summary called a GIST. Once students have mastered writing a GIST using newspaper articles, the strategy is then applied to content area texts to support comprehension and summarizing skills.

back to top



Rhoder, C. (2002). Mindful reading: Strategy training that facilitates transfer. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(6), 498–512.

  • All students benefit from strategy instruction. Too many strategies taught in a short amount of time do not lead to transfer or independent performance of the strategy because students are not able to practice before applying them to content. Therefore, students should learn one or two strategies to allow for transfer.

  • Students need to learn a reading strategy out of context of the content area in order to effectively assimilate the strategy. Once students no longer need scaffolding using the strategy, application to content area is possible.

  • The model for strategy instruction is–direct instruction, practice using curriculum-free materials, and application to curriculum.

back to top