Frog and Toad Are Friends Summarizing Activity & Lesson

Frog and Toad Are Friends Summarizing Activity & Lesson
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A recipient of the Caldecott Honor, the timeless classic, Frog and Toad Are Friends is a perfect fit for teaching reading in the primary grades. Use this lesson as a summary unit or on its own. It would also work wonderfully in a Frog and Toad unit. So, let’s hop to it….

Materials Needed for the Lesson


Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Construction paper (9" x 12")

Chart paper



Notebook paper

Prior Knowledge Needed

Ask students to think about their favorite stories. Have students retell them orally. Also, students should have a working knowledge of summary in which they have drawn pictures to retell the important parts of the story.

Teaching About Summarizing

Show students the cover of Frog and Toad Are Friends and have them make a prediction about what the book will be about. Read the first story out loud to your students stopping to discuss what is happening in the story. Depending on the reading level of your students, have them read the four other stories. You can also assign each story as homework, partner reading, or even in small reading groups.

When you have finished, talk about what happened in the first story. Talk about the major events in the story. Allow students to take turns retelling the story. Explain to them that a summary is a brief retelling of a story that includes all the important parts.

Next, divide the chart paper into fourths. Write “Who” at the top of the first square, “Wanted” on the second square, “But” on the third square, and write “So” on the fourth square. Fill in each square from the story. Fill in the characters for “Who”, what they wanted in the “Want” square, the problem in the “But” square, and the resolution in the “So” square. Tell your students that this is known as a summary.

Then, read the second story however you choose. Discuss it as a class. This may be done on a separate day.


Display the chart paper that you completed as a class with the summary from the first story. If you completed it on a previous day, review it. Then, pass out construction paper and markers. Have students fold their paper into fourths (for younger students, do this ahead of time) and use the markers to draw four boundary line to divide the paper into four squares. Have students write “Who,” “Wanted,” “But,” and “So” at the top of each square.

Next, have students write the information in each square. For example, have them write the characters in the “Who” square and so forth. After they have finished writing, let them illustrate inside of each square.

Continue to practice summary with the remaining stories. Save the last story for the assessment.

Assessing Their Learning

After reading the final story in whatever reading style you choose, have students complete another summary chart using the Who, Wanted, But , So method. When students are finished, have them write their names on them and turn them in for review.

Extention Ideas to Keep the Learning Going

Continue to teach summary by use of other methods. You can teach summary using the beginning, middle, and end method. With this method, students will reconstruct the story using something that happened in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.

Use this book as part of a Frog and Toad unit. Read other Frog and Toad books and use it to teach other literary elements.


  • Classroom experience.  Book jacket photo- public domain.