Standard Lesson

I've Got It Covered! Creating Magazine Covers to Summarize Texts

6 - 8
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 40-minute sessions
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Students can improve their comprehension of content area textbooks by summarizing chapters in the form of magazine covers. The lesson begins by asking students to examine a magazine and discuss the ways in which the magazine cover's headlines and graphics express the main ideas of its articles. They then review a chapter in a content area textbook and use an interactive tool to create a magazine cover that summarizes the textbook information. This process enables students to form connections and create visual representations to share information. Although the focus is on informational texts, this assignment could potentially be expanded to include other types of text as well.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Comprehension can be enhanced when readers actively relate the ideas presented in print to their own knowledge and experiences and craft visual representations to make meaning.

  • Summaries become a record of thoughts that help readers remember what they have read, connect important ideas, ask questions, and make predictions.

  • Summarizing an informational text in the form of a magazine cover can help students determine important author-based ideas, capture the theme of a text, and summarize effectively.


Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access

  • LCD projector and chalkboard, white board, or chart paper or a classroom computer with a projection screen

  • Publishing software (e.g., Microsoft Publisher, Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint)

  • Age-appropriate magazine covers (paper or clip art form)

  • Document camera (optional)




1. Bring a variety of age-appropriate magazines to the classroom for students to examine. You will need one magazine for each group of four students. If you are unable to obtain magazines, you can find sample magazine covers online at Time For Kids or Scholastic News.

2. During the lesson students will create a magazine cover using any publishing or page layout software that is available on your school computers. Popular programs include Microsoft Publisher and Adobe PageMaker. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint also contain many templates that may be used for this purpose. A few free online publishing options include the Magazine Cover Creator, ReadWriteThink Printing Press, and CD/DVD Cover Creator (DVD Cover option). Become familiar with these applications and select the tool that is most appropriate for your class.

3. There are many ways in which students can obtain graphics for their magazine covers. Select the method that best meets the needs of your students. Options include:
  • Browsing a teacher-prepared folder of pictures and clip art. This will enable students to quickly find pictures related to their specific topics. If you present this option to students, you will need to compile an extensive collection of appropriate clip art prior to Session 2.

  • Using a kid-safe clip art site or image search engine such as Pics4Learning. At the Pics4Learning site, students can find pictures by clicking on a category or by entering a specific need in the search box.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Demonstrate comprehension by identifying three to five important details found in an informational text

  • Create visual representations (magazine covers) to share information

Session 1: Examining Magazine Covers

1. Show an issue of an age-appropriate magazine such as Time For Kids or Scholastic News. Ask students to examine the cover and make predictions about the articles they might find inside the magazine. (It is helpful to use a document camera so that everyone can clearly see the cover.)

2. After students have made predictions, read the table of contents aloud and conduct a picture walk to explore the contents of the magazine. Through discussion, help students link articles in the magazine with the pictures and headlines on the cover.

3. Tell the class that when creating covers, publishers must find words and pictures to summarize the content of their magazines. Discuss the ways in which a cover's layout, graphics, fonts, and headlines summarize and reveal clues to the magazine's content.

4. Divide the class into groups of four. Assign students to heterogeneous groups so that more capable readers can assist struggling readers and students who are English language learners can converse with native English speakers.

5. Give each group a magazine. Encourage them to examine their magazine and consider the ways in which the pictures and headlines on the cover reflect the contents of the magazine. Ask each group to use the Magazine Cover Rubric to evaluate their magazine.

6. Provide time for each group to share their evaluation with the whole class. Encourage students to explain the ways in which the cover they examined reflects the content of the magazine.

Session 2: Modeling the Process

1. Show students another issue of an age-appropriate magazine. Review and activate background knowledge by asking students to state the ways in which the magazine cover's headlines and graphics express the content of the magazine.

2. Like magazine publishers, textbook publishers must use headlines and graphics to summarize and to make each chapter's content memorable. Tell students that they will have an opportunity to create a magazine cover that represents a chapter in their textbook.

3. Model the process by asking students to open their textbooks to a specific chapter they have already read. Review the chapter by leading your students on a picture walk. As you conduct the picture walk, point out bold-type headings as well as maps, graphs, pictures, and captions. Ask students to share a few items that they remember learning from this chapter.

4. Tell students that they will work together as a class to identify the main ideas that should be included on a magazine cover about the chapter. Guide this process by:
  • Reminding them that textbook publishers often use bold-type headings to indicate main ideas. Students could use the bold-type headings to quickly find the main ideas

  • Asking them to skim the summary or review at the end of the textbook chapter to locate the main ideas of the chapter

  • Encouraging them to examine pictures contained in the text and to consider whether the pictures' captions represent main ideas of the text
As students identify main ideas, write their responses on the chalkboard, white board, chart paper, or on a computer with a projection screen.

5. Tell students that you will now use the list of important details they developed to create a magazine cover based on the chapter. Using an LCD projector so that everyone can clearly see the demonstration, create a magazine cover in your selected tool to reflect the textbook chapter (see Preparation, Step 2).

Thinking aloud as you work, model the process by taking one of the main ideas on the students' list and typing it as a headline for your cover. Remind students of the importance of selecting a font size and color that is easily legible. Discuss the importance of selecting graphics that are eye-catching and highly relevant to the headline. For example, place a graphic on the cover and ask students if they feel that the selected graphic illustrates the headline. If students disagree with your choice, invite them to help you select a more appropriate graphic.

Session 3: Summarizing the Textbook Chapter

1. Ask students to meet in the groups that they formed in Session 1 and assign each group a textbook chapter. Tell students that each group will have an opportunity to create a magazine cover based on their assigned textbook chapter. (You should vary this assignment based on the needs and schedule of your class. You may wish to focus on a single chapter and ask each group to read and summarize the same chapter. Or you may wish to assign different chapters to each group.)

2. Ask each group to review their assigned textbook chapter. While reviewing the chapter, each group should:
  • Look at boldface headings, pictures, charts, graphs, and maps.

  • Form questions based on the headlines, pictures, maps, charts, and graphs.

  • Discuss facts they learned while reviewing the chapter.
Note: Because students are working in heterogeneous groups, there are opportunities for more capable readers to assist struggling readers and for native speakers of English to help students who are English language learners. Encourage students who may struggle to work with a peer during this lesson. For example, a more capable reader may type the headlines that a struggling reader dictates. Students who are native speakers of English can assist English language learners by helping them to name the pictures that appear in the clipart.

3. After reviewing a chapter, each group should develop a list of three to five of the most important details contained in that chapter. These details will be listed on the magazine cover that students develop in the next session. Briefly remind students that they should use the chapter's bold-type headings and the captions accompanying pictures, charts, graphs, and maps to identify important details. Chapter questions can be turned into statements, summarized, and then used as headlines on the magazine cover. Circulate among the groups and offer assistance as necessary.

4. End the session by asking each group to share their list of important details found in their assigned chapter. Remind students that these important details will become headlines in a magazine cover representing their assigned chapter.

Sessions 4–5: Creating the Magazine Cover

1. Have students to meet in their groups. Direct them to use their list of important details and the selected page layout tool to create a magazine cover based on their assigned chapter.

2. As they are working, students can find appropriate graphics by browsing a teacher-prepared folder of pictures and clip art or using a kid-safe clip art site or image search engine such as Pics4Learning (see Preparation, Step 3).

3. Distribute copies of the Magazine Cover Rubric to remind students of essential elements as they work. Explain the rubric to students and emphasize that the graphics they select should be eye-catching and highly relevant to one or more of the headlines. The headlines should be printed in a color, font, and point size that can be read easily.

4. Ask each group to use the Magazine Cover Rubric to evaluate their work and to make revisions as necessary.

5. Provide time for each group to share their cover with the class. Taking turns, each group should come to the front of the classroom and show the magazine cover they created. They should read their headlines and explain why those are the most important items to remember from the chapter.


Students have created magazine covers with headlines that summarize a textbook chapter. To enhance comprehension and improve students' recall of content area material, invite them to write informational passages (or articles) to accompany their headlines.

Student Assessment / Reflections


  • Visit the groups as they are working to determine whether every student understands the tasks and is able to complete the requirements. Take anecdotal notes and conference with students as necessary. Use the Teacher’s Lesson Assessment to evaluate students’ progress.

  • Ask students to use the Magazine Cover Rubric to evaluate their work.


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