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Lesson Plan

Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area

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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


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  • Published Comments


March 30, 2016

I love the GIST strategy. I am concerned with the fact that different teachers require different lengths for summarizing. I will use this in my classroom, because I use writing a lot in my classes.


Hillary Fortun

April 10, 2013

GIST stands for Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text.



January 05, 2012

gist--" the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work" Why do we need an acronym for everything? Gist is what it is. I think it's a great idea as a strategy to teach kids not to be so wordy when writing a summary. It's so difficult to teach summarizing because there are a variety of lengths that people (or test practitioners) are looking for. I think GIST may help kids to recognize that getting to the heart of the matter is essential in summarizing and I think GIST may be the way to get them going in that direction. I'm intrigued and will try it and get back to this website with my findings. Thanks for posting the lesson and for the comments that helped me decide to try this strategy.



November 09, 2011

love this wedsite im a 12grade teacher it gives me alot



January 02, 2011

Can you please provide a completed example of the GIST template. I would like to see exactly what the 20 words should look like.



December 28, 2010

I'd like to use the gist template with grade 7 for a lesson in summarizing, but what do students put in the bottom of the form that has 20 Gists? Are they recording key words from the text?



December 11, 2010

Myra, thank you for the useful website. I think it provides a crucial step in the Gist strategy that is missing from the website provided with the lesson - writing down key words directly from the text. This gives them a guide of words to use when writing their 20 word summary.



November 26, 2010

This website list three reading strategies including GIST. On this page it states that tthe acronym GIST stands for Generating Interaction between Schemata and Text.


Mary Ellen

September 21, 2010

The objective of this lesson is to learn how to use the GIST strategy and increase student comprehension when reading content area text. Looking up the word GIST in the dictionary is not an effective way to introduce the strategy to students--most students, even when they can find the word in the dictionary, still cannot make meaning. While failure may build character--I do not believe it is relevant in this lesson.
Who wants to start out learning by being frustrated? Struggling learners will be turned off from the start.



September 21, 2010

The original word is "gyst" which means the essence of a literary work. It has been given an urban spelling to fit the acronym. So, Sharon, while Kaylee and Pilar have given you where GIST came from (which is great, by the way), you wouldn't find that in a dictionary because it is an acronym. Bean's method wouldn't work here.



February 26, 2010

Good Morning Sharon, I'm not young anymore, and the term gist has been used by me since I was a child. I know books are a thing of the past, at least ones that don't have a skewed version of... But I would suggest opening up your Webster's Dictionary instead of asking first. This technique is also good for teaching a child, even if they can't spell it. Make them search for it, in the dictionary, not online (the computer makes people lazy because, if it isn't autofilling, its suggesting, "did you mean?".

They will get frustrated at a point when they can't find or spell it properly, IN THE DICTIONARY. Yes, failure is a part of life, but it builds character. At a reasonable point in time, be there to assist, you want them to like challenges.

Failure is not fun, but it happens and you must prepare a child for this. If they have any core character to begin with, they'll move on. If not, you'll be helping to build it.




February 20, 2010

The gist of something is like the general idea of things.
If you would like an acronym try GIST; General Idea Surrounding Text.


Kaylee Olney, RWT Staff

February 17, 2010

Hi Sharon, The original website that described the Gist strategy was taken down and we have replaced it with another site. I hope you find it helpful. "Gist" doesn't stand for anything; it just means to get the main point of something. The lesson formally had GIST in all caps. We have changed the style and the title of the lesson to eliminate this confusion.


Sharon Oliver

February 01, 2010

had difficulty finding information on "GIST" - I do no understand what it stands for. I could not find the definition through the link given.



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