Read It, Summarize It, Draw It

In my guided reading groups last week, we started to focus on summarizing and identifying important details in what we read. Not gonna lie. It was tricky. Comprehension – as always – is our stumbling block. Children with autism struggle with language development so it’s no surprise that comprehending what they read is difficult for them. Comprehension is woven into each and every reading lesson I teach. With learning about summarizing and identifying key details, I need to assess whether my students are taking home the overall idea of what they read. Yes, answering comprehension questions is important. But what about that critical main idea? And what are the details that make up that main idea? And how can I assess this out language becoming too big of an obstacle?

That’s a lot of questions. But I may have a solution. We have been doing read it, summarize it, draw it for several chapters of our Diary of a Wimpy Kid read aloud.

The Autism Helper

I think this has really helped my students begin to identify details. We do this activity as a group and I can really tell which students are getting. I love using pictures and illustrations as a form of comprehension assessment. Since our students struggle with language, it’s nice to take language out of the equation. The pictures really show me that they know what they read.


First, we read.

The Autism Helper

Then, we summarize as a group. We write the summary in sequential steps on the board.

The Autism Helper

Then, each student picks a step to draw.

The Autism Helper

It’s a great way to break up guided reading groups and assess a range of skills at one time.

and last but not least: HAPPY FRIDAY!


  1. great idea! But how do you include your lower functioning/non verbal students?

  2. They do a different activity. I use pictures as response options for comprehension a lot and that works really well!


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