Grade: 3rd

Supplies: iPad or Smartboard, large pad of paper, marker

Interest-building activity

Begin by asking students if anyone knows what a summary is, and write the word on the board. Give your own summary of what you did over the weekend to illustrate the meaning. Ask a few students to share a summary of their weekend. Keep kids on track by reminding them, if they get into too many details, that a summary is “short and sweet”. Next, have students pair off to give a summary of their weekend to their partner.

Lesson Development:

-Tell students they will be hearing the story of Hansel and Gretel and learning to summarize it. Next, read students the story of Hansel and Gretel either through the iStoryBooks app or website. After reading the story, discuss again briefly the meaning of summary. Then, inform students that you will read the story again, pausing at the appropriate spots so that as a class you can summarize what was just read.

-Read the first pages and stop after Hansel and Gretel realize they are lost. Ask students how they can summarize what was just read in one sentence. They should come up with something such as, “Hansel and Gretel decide to go play in the woods, but end up getting lost.” Write this sentence on a large sheet of lined paper. Next read until the part “Hansel and Gretel come upon a house in the woods, and the witch who lives inside takes them in and feeds them.”

-Continue reading until you reach the part where Hansel and Gretel are stuck in the cage and being fed. Ask students to summarize what was just read; they should say something along the lines of “The witch put Hansel and Gretel in a cage and fed them lots of food to fatten them up so she could eat them.” Finally, finish reading the story and ask students to summarize the ending. They should say something like, “Gretel pushed the witch into the oven and she and Hansel were able to escape.”


For homework, have students write a short summary of one of their favorite books.


Carry over the theme of Hansel and Gretel into art class by having the students make their own candy houses. This can be done either through drawing, glueing scraps onto a cardboard shaped house, or even done like a Gingerbread house using graham crackers for the house and real candy for the decorations, “glued” on with frosting.