Recurring Lesson

Guided Comprehension: Summarizing Using the QuIP Strategy

3 - 6
Lesson Plan Type
Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time
60 minutes per session
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A majority of students in grades 4–6 are beyond decoding instruction and need more assistance with comprehension to help them become successful, independent readers. Strategic reading allows students to monitor their own thinking and make connections between texts and their own experiences. This lesson introduces students to the QuIP (questions into paragraphs) strategy, a technique that involves graphically organizing information and synthesizing it in writing.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Guided Comprehension is a context in which students learn comprehension strategies in a variety of settings using multiple levels and types of text. It is a three-stage process focused on direct instruction, application, and reflection.

  • The Guided Comprehension Model progresses from explicit teaching to independent practice and transfer.

  • Summarizing is defined as synthesizing important ideas.

  • Current studies demonstrate that when students experience explicit instruction of comprehension strategies, it improves their comprehension of new texts and topics (Hiebert et al., 1998).

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

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 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.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

Materials and Technology

  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold (Crown, 1995)
  • Young Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter by Anne Benjamin and Ellen Beier (Troll, 1997)
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson (Random House, 1995)
  • Computers with Internet access



QuIP chart



1. Learn about the QuIP (Questions Into Paragraphs) strategy from the book Guided Comprehension: A Teaching Model for Grades 3–8 by Maureen McLaughlin and Mary Beth Allen.

2. Read Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson ahead of time. Look especially for facts and details that would be helpful in writing a paragraph about the Underground Railroad or Harriet Tubman.

3. Copy the QuIP chart onto chart paper or an overhead transparency for class demonstration and make copies of the chart for students to use as well.

4. Gather three instructional-level texts that match the needs of three levels of reading in your class (see the Booklist for the Underground Railroad).

NOTE: This lesson is intended as an introduction to the summarizing strategy. With continued practice, students should be able to apply the summarizing and QuIP strategy independently to other texts.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Define and understand the QuIP strategy

  • Learn the process of note taking

  • Summarize information gathered through research into paragraphs

  • Work cooperatively and then independently to apply the QuIP strategy when reading a text

  • Reflect on the summarizing strategy and how it helps to improve their reading comprehension

Day 1

Stage 1: Teacher-directed whole-group instruction (40 minutes)

1. Explain the strategy. Explain to students what it means to summarize their reading. Since we do not always remember what we read, nor do we need to remember every detail of what we read, emphasize the importance of understanding the main ideas. Ask students if they have ever read anything that prompted them to want to learn more. Explain that you are going to teach them a strategy to help them summarize their reading into paragraphs.
  • Read Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky aloud to students. (Do not read the informational section in the back at this time.) Model questioning techniques as you read to show students how a story can spark an interest for learning more.

  • Read Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt aloud to students modeling the same questioning techniques.

  • Display the QuIP chart and pass out individual copies to students. Review the chart and explain to students that after reading a story, they should write down several questions that they would like to research further. Some examples of questions include:
  • What was the Underground Railroad?

  • Where did Harriet Tubman grow up? What was her childhood like?

  • How did slaves know which way to go on the Underground Railroad? How did they find their way?

  • How were quilts used on the Underground Railroad?
  • Choose two of these questions and write them in the "Question" column on the QuIP chart. Ask students to fill in their charts with the same questions.
2. Demonstrate the strategy. Display the QuIP chart with your questions for students to see. Explain to students (if they don't already know) what a "source" is. Reread your questions aloud and explain how you will go about answering them.
  • Start with the first question (for example, "What was Harriet Tubman's childhood like?") and choose a source where you might find the answer. You may want to use one of the books on the Booklist for the Underground Railroad or one of the online Resources related to the Underground Railroad. Read the source information aloud and "think aloud" as you fill in the QuIP chart. Talk through the information, and record the important ideas on the chart. Remind students that they do not need to use complete sentences, but just get the information down.

    [Teacher note: This modeling also shows students the process of note taking and extracting important information from a text.]

    Have students copy the information onto their individual QuIP charts as you go.
3. Guide students to apply the strategy. Have students help you fill in the "Answer" column for the questions on the QuIP chart. For example, you might want to read aloud Young Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter by Anne Benjamin and Ellen Beier and ask students to help you record the important information that answers the question, "What was Harriet Tubman's childhood like?"

Your finished chart might look something like this:

Question Source Answer
What was Harriet Tubman's childhood like? Young Harriet Tubman by Anne Benjamin and Ellen Beier Harriet was a slave for the Brodas family.

Harriet escaped from slavery in 1849.

Harriet almost died when a brick hit her in the head.

Harriet helped her family escape as well.
How were quilts used on the Underground Railroad? Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson

Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold
Quilts were used to help slaves find their way.

The white owners wouldn't suspect the quilts.

Quilts were used as maps.

Quilts sent signals to slaves.

Quilts marked safe houses

  • After you complete the QuIP chart, the next step is to show students how the information for each question can be formed into a paragraph by organizing it and rewriting it into complete sentences. Use the first question to demonstrate how this is done. [Teacher note: Students should already be familiar with how to write a paragraph before using this lesson.]
4. Practice individually or in small groups. After you complete the first paragraph from the QuIP chart, ask students to turn their charts over and write a paragraph for the second question on the chart. You may also choose to have them work in small groups to complete this task. When students are finished, allow them to share their paragraphs aloud or with their peers.

5. Reflect. Gather students as a whole class to discuss how using the QuIP chart helped them to organize information and to summarize what they read. Discuss how this strategy might help them in other areas or in other situations.

Stage 2: Teacher-guided small groups and student-facilitated independent practice (40 minutes)

Before beginning Stage 2, students must be divided into three instructional-level groups. Students with similar instructional needs should be grouped together. This does not necessarily mean that students in each group are on the same reading level. Instead, they may have similar needs for comprehension instruction (e.g., students who have trouble making inferences or students who need extra practice making connections between texts).

Students are working in three different areas during this stage:

  • Teacher-guided small-group instruction

  • Student-facilitated comprehension centers

  • Student-facilitated comprehension routines

Classroom management is at the discretion of each individual teacher. You may want to assign students to small groups and set up a rotation schedule, or you may want to allow groups of students to choose their own activities. Regardless, each group of students needs to visit the three areas at least once in the three-day period.

1. Teacher-guided small-group instruction. Choose one group to begin with you as follows:
  • Review the QuIP strategy using the example from Stage 1.

  • Guide students to read an expository text at their instructional level (see the Booklist for the Underground Railroad). After reading, have students brainstorm two questions about the topic in the book and record them in the "Question" column of the QuIP chart. Working together, students should identify sources where they might find the answers and complete the chart by filling in notes in the "Answer" column. Then have them write a paragraph for each question to summarize what they read.

  • Have students reflect on using the QuIP strategy and how it helps them summarize information and monitor their own comprehension.
2. Student-facilitated comprehension centers. Students may be assigned to centers or choose activities on their own.
  • Writing center. Have students work independently or in small groups and use the QuIP chart to ask a question about something they are learning about in class and would like to know more about. Students can use various classroom books, library books, and other resources to explore and answer their question. Ask students to use the notes on their QuIP chart to summarize what they read and answer the question.

  • Music center. Have students read the lyrics for the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd." This site also includes an explanation of the lyrics and the song's historical significance. Using the QuIP chart, ask students to answer the question, "How and why might slaves have used songs to help guide them on the Underground Railroad? Students should be able to summarize information on this site and write a paragraph to answer the question.

  • Internet center. Have students ask two additional questions about the Underground Railroad and use Internet resources to explore and find the answers. Bookmark the following websites for students to use when researching the Underground Railroad:
3. Student-facilitated comprehension routines. Working in small groups, students engage in three different literacy strategies. Students should already be familiar with each of the strategies and have practiced them over time. For more information, review the Summary Sheet or refer to the text Guided Comprehension: A Teaching Model for Grades 3–8 by Maureen McLaughlin and Mary Beth Allen.

Days 2 and 3

Days 2 and 3

For Days 2 and 3, pick up where you left off the previous day. The suggested time for each session is 60 minutes, however, since the group on the first day only had 20 minutes in small groups, you may want to meet with them for another 20 minutes and then switch groups for the last 40 minutes. The rotation should continue until all three groups have visited all three areas. On Day 3, students will spend 40 minutes in small groups, leaving 20 minutes for whole-group reflection and discussion (see Stage 3).

Stage 3: Whole-group reflection (20 minutes)

1. Talk to students about the summarizing comprehension strategy that they have been learning. Ask students to tell why and how using a QuIP chart helped them summarize what they read.

2. Give students time to share the activities they completed in the student-facilitated comprehension centers.


  • Adapt this lesson and have students practice the summarizing strategy with other texts. With continued practice using the QuIP chart, students should be able to apply the strategy independently when reading.

  • Access and use other lessons based on the Guided Comprehension Model to teach additional comprehension strategies:
Guided Comprehension: Evaluating Using the Meeting of the Minds Technique

Guided Comprehension: Knowing How Words Work Using Semantic Feature Analysis

Guided Comprehension: Previewing Using an Anticipation Guide

Guided Comprehension: Making Connections Using a Double-Entry Journal

Guided Comprehension: Monitoring Using the INSERT Technique

Guided Comprehension: Self-Questioning Using Question-Answer Relationships

Guided Comprehension: Visualizing Using the Sketch-to-Stretch Strategy

Student Assessment / Reflections


  • Assess the student's completed QuIP charts and the paragraphs the student wrote using these charts.
  • Did the student correctly complete the QuIP charts?

  • Did the notes that the student wrote help to answer the corresponding questions?

  • Are the questions valid and answered using appropriate sources?

  • Do the completed paragraphs answer the intended questions and are they based on the notes from the QuIP charts?

  • Did the student accurately summarize the reading?
  • You can also ask students to reflect in their comprehension journals about the comprehension strategy of summarizing and their experiences using the QuIP chart.


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