Class Summary Strategy
The class summary strategy is a memory and comprehension strategy that students can use in any setting where they need to learn information. Students are routinely (preferably once or twice a week) assigned to identify and write in an agenda or notebook the main topic and several details about content or learning activities in each class during the school day. They are required to bring their class summaries to language intervention sessions, and to give an oral report (with as much support as needed).

 The class summary strategy is parallel to reading comprehension retells or summaries.

To succeed at using this strategy, students must first practice the skills of identifying and describing the main topic or activity in a class and giving some coherent, sequenced details.

The class summary strategy can benefit a wide variety of students with language needs that include comprehension of academic language, sentence structure, organizing and explaining information, and transferring information across settings.

When the strategy is routinely used, students can master it’s basic mechanics and class summary review during direct language intervention sessions can be a foundation for increasingly complex and challenging practice and review of curriculum based language skills.

Students in a language group can take turns giving their class summaries and listening to class summaries presented by other students. During their teaching turns, students can practice effective oral language skills.

Listeners can practice comprehension skills such as asking clarifying questions and paraphrasing the summaries to confirm the information. The SLP can use the summaries as a springboard for further practice of language skills appropriate to specific students’ needs.

In addition to providing a context to practice curriculum based language skills during class summary review, the strategy is beneficial because it holds students with language disabilities accountable to remember and explain something of what is being presented in each class during the school day.

Regular accountability and practice improves students’ ability to remember and transfer knowledge across settings. Teachers and parents understand the usefulness of this strategy, so they are more likely to support it. Routine class summary assignments can also become an efficient way for the SLP to be continually aware of class content and curriculum language needs of the student. (We all know the logistical challenges of getting regular information about class content from classroom teachers!)