Summarizing Fiction Small Group Instruction: Four Trifolds | PDF and Digital |

Rated 4.92 out of 5, based on 78 reviews
78 Ratings
Deb Hanson
Grade Levels
3rd - 6th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
23 pages
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Deb Hanson
Easel Activity Included
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive activity students can complete on any device.  Easel by TPT is free to use! Learn more.

What educators are saying

I really enjoyed this resource. I did have difficulties with the folding of the trifold. Things did not line up, even after cutting it.
This was a great resource that students could glue into their notebooks and refer back to it when working to retell their reading.


These four print-and-go trifolds target the skill of summarizing a fiction text. Students are taught how to use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy in a step-by-step manner. Use these tri-folds over the course of 4 days to provide targeted instruction on this topic.

As I was creating these trifolds, I pictured myself using them with small groups of students. Specifically, I envisioned sitting around a table with a group of students who needed some targeted instruction and additional opportunities to practice writing a fiction summary. That being said, however, you can also successfully use these tri-folds in a large group setting or assign them as independent work.

The summarizing fiction trifolds progress from basic to more complex. Answer keys are included, along with additional teacher notes for EACH trifold. CHECK OUT THE PREVIEW to get a good feel for what you will get if you choose to purchase this resource.

Trifold #1: This initial trifold focuses on teaching students to recognize the five parts of a “Somebody Wanted But So Then” summary. First, students are presented with three summaries, and they must highlight or underline each component of the summary with a different color. The middle section of this trifold emphasizes the difference between retellings (many details) and summaries (short). I have included both a bulleted retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a SBWST summary so that students can see the difference. Finally, students are given information about a fictional text, and they write their first summary using the SWBST model.

Trifold #2: This second trifold uses fables because most fables are already short, and identifying the five parts is often quite obvious. Therefore, I believe summarizing fables builds confidence at this early point. In this trifold, students read and then summarize three fables. As you will see in my teacher notes for this trifold, this is when I talk to kids about avoiding a run-on sentence summary, and I discuss the importance of using transition words to help form a smooth, fluent summary.

Tri-fold #3: In this third trifold students advance to reading short stories. These two short stories contain more details than the fables they read yesterday. Therefore, students will need to discern the most important parts of the story in order to write a good summary. On the final panel, students will brainstorm their own short stories by answering the SWBST questions in each box.

Tri-fold #4: In this final trifold, I focus on what writers can do when they try to use the SWBST formula, and the parts just don’t seem to all fall into place. As you will see, I propose that when students run into this problem, they should start with the SWBST formula, but add in other critical information when it is necessary. This tri-fold begins by using Jack and the Beanstalk as an example. Next, students read a short story and choose which summary is stronger. (The summary that uses the SWBST formula plus some added information is the correct answer.) Finally, students read one last short story and summarize it.

********This resource is available in TWO FORMATS:

1. TRADITIONAL PRINTABLES- Print the PDF and distribute paper copies to your students to complete.

2. TPT EASEL ACTIVITY- With this format, an interactive layer has been added to the original PDF!** This paperless version uses text boxes and drawing tools so that your students can complete it on a device. You can assign it to your students via Google Drive, and they can return it to you to review.

**Please note!** I created an enhanced version of this resource that is compatible with Google Slides. It includes instructional slides not included in this particular resource. I invite you to click on this link to review that version and then determine which format is most appropriate for your classroom and intended use.

Feel free to check out my related summarizing fiction resources:

Readers' Theater and Summarizing Activity

Summarizing Fiction PowerPoint

If you like these trifolds, you might want to check out these trifolds that target other ELA skills:

Author's Purpose: Targeted Trifolds

Main Idea: Targeted Trifolds

Plot: Targeted Trifolds

Theme: Targeted Trifolds

Making Inferences: Targeted Trifolds

Citing Text Evidence: Targeted Trifolds

Context Clues: Targeted Trifolds

Cause and Effect: Targeted Trifolds

Copyright by Deb Hanson

This item is a paid digital download from my TpT store

This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher is prohibited. This item is also bound by copyright laws. Redistributing, editing, selling, or posting this item (or any part thereof) on an Internet site that is not password protected are all strictly prohibited without first gaining permission from the author. Violations are subject to the penalties of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me if you wish to be granted special permissions!

Total Pages
23 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


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