Unit 4: Summarizing a Reference

Nov 07, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


If you are moving through the IEW units at the pace of about one a month, you are either now in Unit 4, Summarizing a Reference, or are about to be there soon. In Podcast 163, Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker take some time to describe this fact-based writing unit and share some wisdom about how to approach it with your students.

Unit 4 differs from Unit 3 in that it moves away from narrative stories into fact-based writing. Because of that, accuracy matters more than it does in Unit 3, a unit that allows for more creativity. Source texts for Unit 4 should be at or below the student’s reading level and should have more facts in them than what you want in the finished piece. This forces students to limit their facts in their writing. Additionally, you should select or create a source text that allows the student to write about the number of topics you have decided upon, usually one, two, or three.

Unit 4 is a building block unit and is not a final, finished product. Andrew Pudewa calls this unit the linchpin of the structural models for good reason. Being able to write a cohesive paragraph with a topic and clincher sentence needs to be in place as students approach the later units, so it is important to take the time to help your students with the process. Be sure to follow the EZ + 1 formula and stick to Webster’s edict—hands on structure and style; hands off content.

For some great guidance, helpful hints, and rewarding resources, listen to the podcast. It will help you feel encouraged and equipped to present this important writing unit to your students.

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