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Teaching Students to Paraphrase
Ideas for scaffolding paraphrasing so that students correctly learn this valuable but difficult-to-master skill.
When discussing text in the classroom, it’s tough for students to shift from utilizing an author’s words (copying) to accepting the challenge to express that author’s idea in their own words (paraphrasing).
But teaching effective paraphrasing is necessary because the use of paraphrasing facilitates important literacy skills : It encourages repeated reading, develops note-taking habits as students track quotes and outline text details, and expands vocabulary as they consider appropriate ways to describe the original text. The skill may seem daunting to students because it takes time to find the appropriate words to reshape a sentence, but that is time well spent.
We also need to teach paraphrasing, of course, so that students develop the skill set required to avoid committing plagiarism unintentionally .
One way to support students is to make them aware of tools that may help when they’re paraphrasing. Think of these as training wheels—students won’t use them forever.
Academic Phrasebank : Ready-made phrases help students organize their sentences when they paraphrase. The site provides sentence starters for defining ideas, comparing and contrasting ideas, describing cause and effect, and explaining evidence to support statements.
For instance, if a student were paraphrasing vocabulary word X, they would be able to find sentence starters such as “The word X encompasses...,” “The word X is challenging to define because...,” and “The word X is intended to....”
Ashford University Writing Center : This website has a five-item quiz to review the paraphrasing process. It allows students to identify examples and non-examples of paraphrasing for a given text.
When examining non-examples, students are shown how replacing or rearranging words is akin to copying and pasting on a computer. Students see examples of effective paraphrasing, including a change of sentence structure or personal elaboration combined with limited quoted information.
Tone Analyzer : This tool allows students to enter a brief sample from a text and receive an analysis of the tone. When using this tool, students can request an assessment of whether the text illustrates anger, joy, sadness, etc. In addition to these emotions, the website includes language descriptors such as confident (used to describe texts that use active voice and/or words such as will , must , etc.) or tentative (texts with words such as seems , appears , might , etc.). This tool is useful in helping students successfully align the tone of their paraphrased material with the tone of the original text.
Student Self-Check Prompts
Students should outgrow the tools above, and teachers can encourage that growth by showing them how to monitor their own progress with paraphrasing. Students can self-check to determine how on track with paraphrasing they are by asking themselves these questions:
- Can I identify elements of the text that are most significant (and thus appropriate to preserve) when I put it in my own words?
- Can I recite elements of the text from memory in order to prepare to put it into my own words?
- How can I adjust the sentence structure to preserve the meaning of the text?
Because the journey to paraphrasing may involve a few hiccups, it’s a good idea to identify potential student challenges. When paraphrasing, remind students that they should:
- Attempt to describe the text in their own words gradually, one component at a time (thanks to Doug Lemov and Maggie Johnson for this close reading strategy). For instance, they might first use their own words to describe significant phrases in the reading, and then make an effort to explain one or two key sentences, and finally attempt to paraphrase an entire paragraph.
- Monitor the similarities between the text and the paraphrase. For instance, after describing specific sentences or paragraphs, they should note how many words are shared. Instead of using the same words as the author, focus on mirroring the same main idea. The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale offers easy-to-follow models for how to achieve this.
- Ensure that there is a sufficient number of word substitutions in the paraphrased material. (Substituting only a couple of words could constitute plagiarism.) Students should focus on changing the structure of the sentence . This may involve converting a simple sentence to a compound sentence or adding a prepositional phrase.
- Avoid adjusting special language (acronyms, figurative language, jargon, etc.). These kinds of terms are considered common knowledge, so using them in a paraphrase doesn’t constitute plagiarism. Resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab can help students figure out whether a particular term is common knowledge.
Teachers can push students to move beyond copying by encouraging them to see paraphrasing as the go-to reading response. When we equip students with needed resources, we make student voice the rule instead of the exception.
Minds in Bloom
By Rachel Lynette
Teaching Kids to Paraphrase, Step by Step
Start by Talking
- Reword – Replace words and phrases with synonyms whenever you can.
- Rearrange – Rearrange words within sentences to make new sentences. You can even rearrange the ideas presented within the paragraph.
- Realize that some words and phrases cannot be changed – names, dates, titles, etc. cannot be replaced, but you can present them differently in your paraphrase.
- Recheck – Make sure that your paraphrase conveys the same meaning as the original text.
At just 8.5 square miles, the Pacific island country of Nauru is one of the smallest countries in the world. The island was once rich in phosphate, but most of the resource has been mined, leaving damage to the environment behind. Nauru has a population of about 10,000 people.
Nauru is a Pacific island country that is only 8.5 square miles in area. It is one of the smallest countries on the planet and only about 10,000 people live there. Nauru has mined its once plentiful supply of phosphate. This has damaged the environment on the island.
Pulling It All Together
- paraphrasing from notes you have taken from the original text, rather than from the text itself.
- including quotes in your paraphrased writings.
- paraphrasing some parts and summarizing other parts.
- paraphrasing, summarizing, and including quotes all in one piece.
- using more than one source to paraphrase, summarize, and include quotes. (Throw in a bibliography, and what do you know? You’ve written an actual report!)
I apologize, but I had to remove all comments and disable commenting on this post because the topic attracts scores of bottom-feeders trying to drum up business for their unethical term paper writing services.
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The Paraphrasing Strategy
The Paraphrasing Strategy is designed to help students focus on the most important information in a passage and to improve students' recall of main ideas and specific facts. Students read short passages of materials, identify the main idea and details, and rephrase the content in their own words.
In research studies, students showed average gains of 35 percentage points in reading comprehension of grade-level materials after mastering the strategy.
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Please note that professional development, coaching, and infrastructure support are essential components to effective implementation of SIM instructional tools and interventions. It is highly recommended that you work with a SIM professional developer. See the SIM Event list for sessions or email [email protected] to learn more.
Author(s): Jean B. Schumaker, Pegi H. Denton, and Donald D. Deshler
Publication Info: University of Kansas, 1984
- Research on the Paraphrasing Strategy (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 3, No. 1 : Teaching the Paraphrasing Strategy to Younger Students (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 8, No. 4: Using Persuasion to Present the Paraphrasing Strategy - and A Sentence to help remember the Paraphrasing Mnemonic, Emmett Murray (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 8, No. 5: Strategy Sticker Reminder for the Generalization Stage of Paraphrasing and Sentence Writing (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 10, No. 1: Study shows benefits of Paraphrasing Strategy in general ed middle school classrooms (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 12, No. 5, May, 2000: Tips for teaching paraphrasing, Gwen Berry (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 13, No.1: An Activity to introduce Main Idea and Details, Margaret Carmean (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 14, No. 3: Recommended reading: Passages for Paraphrasing and Word ID (.pdf)
- Strategram Vol. 17, No. 5: Active Reading to support Paraphrasing Strategy instruction (.pdf)
- Schumaker, J.B., Deshler, D.D., Woodruff, S.K., Hock, M.F., Bulgren, J.A., & Lenz, B.K. (2006). Reading strategy interventions: Can literacy outcomes be enhanced for at-risk adolescents? Teaching Exceptional Children, 38 (3), 64-68. In two studies, students who learned reading strategies outperformed students who did not.
- Oas, B.K., Schumaker, J.B., & Deshler, D.D. (1995). Learning strategies: Tools for learning to learn in middle and high schools. Secondary education and beyond: Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities. Pittsburgh, PA: Learning Disabilities Association of America. This article uses student case descriptions to illustrate how a variety of learning strategies--including the Self-Advocacy Strategy, Sentence Writing Strategy, and Paraphrasing Strategy --might be implemented with students who experience an array of learning disabilities characteristics.
An accessible version of the documents on this site will be made available upon request. Please contact the KU CRL Professional Development Research Institute, at [email protected] to request the document be made available in an accessible format.
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- 3 Advancing Learning: EMI: English as a medium of instruction
- 4 Advancing Learning: Confessions from an obsessive language learner: what I have learnt from continually studying languages for 32 years
- 5 Advancing Learning: How to approach essay writing
- 6 Advancing Learning: Helping very young learners improve their collaboration skills
- 7 Advancing Learning: Multisensory learning in the inclusive classroom
- 8 Advancing Learning: Guilt-free teaching – how your students learn more when you plan less
- 9 Advancing Learning: The challenges of speaking
- 10 Advancing Learning: The fifth skill – 'viewing'
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Advancing Learning: Empowering students with paraphrasing strategies
By Judy Alden
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Paraphrasing is a skill that is often assessed in exams. Experienced teacher and assessment writer Judy Alden examines how to teach it, offering practical tips and techniques you can take straight to the classroom.
As English Language teachers, one of our core aims is to teach our learners how to express themselves. And I’m sure, like myself, you receive a great deal of satisfaction when your learners are able to reproduce the language that you’ve taught them. But what else can we do to avoid learners simply sticking to the script? The answer is quite simple: we need to demonstrate the power of paraphrasing in the classroom.
Paraphrasing is an essential skill that helps learners develop their communicative ability beyond their existing knowledge of language. In other words, it’s an empowering skill that enables learners to keep learning new words or phrases similar to the ones they already know. This is why in this article we’re going to look at a paraphrasing technique, activities to encourages students to paraphrase, and how paraphrasing is often a skill that is assessed in exams in all the subskills.
Synonyms for all levels
Teaching synonyms is a straightforward technique that can be adapted to all levels of learners. In fact, it’s probably one of the first strategies used with lower level learners to start expanding their vocabulary. For example, when teaching the A2 word ‘ grandmother ’ the synonyms ‘ grandma, granny, gran, nanna, nan ’ can also be taught since they are the informal versions of ‘grandmother’ which native speakers would tend to use. With higher level students, you can use the same approach but with a more complex word bank of synonyms. Learners at all levels need to identify and separate which synonyms are formal ( green ) and which are informal ( blue ).
Rather than teaching students how to express something with one word, think about having them build up sets of synonyms. Then learners will know how to create their own word banks of linking words that have similar meanings so they can express themselves in a variety of ways right from the start.
Four paraphrasing activities
As every teacher knows, having a toolkit of ideas keeps things fresh in the classroom. So how can we encourage our students to use paraphrasing strategies in the classroom on an ongoing basis? One way to achieve this is to include learner-centred ice-breakers to target this skill. Here are four ice-breakers that you might want to try or adapt for your learners.
Social Butterfly (speaking)
This ice-breaker focuses on paraphrasing when answering questions at an imaginary party. Elicit a few questions from your learners and write down a list of question prompts they need to ask people (e.g. …name? …age? …hobbies? …free time? …last holiday? etc). Then tell learners that they must go and mingle. Encourage them to be ’social butterflies’ and speak to as many people as possible in the allotted time (five minutes). When they mingle, they must take turns asking and answering the questions. Let learners know that whenever someone answers a question, they must say either ‘ Pardon? ’ or ‘ Sorry? ’ to prompt their partner to rephrase what they have said.
You might want to write one or two examples up on the board. For example,
What’s your name?
My name ’s Kasia.
I’m called Kasia.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I usually go swimming or visit my friends .
I like going for a swim or hanging out with my mates .
To create a party-like environment, you could play music while learners complete the task. While the activity is taking place, monitor and record good examples of paraphrasing, then go over them as a whole group.
Full Picture (reading & speaking)
To avoid having this jigsaw reading task become a detailed reading task, text selection is essential for this five-minute ice-breaker. Choose a brief, three-paragraph text that has a clear beginning, middle and end – a text about a sequence of events, for example, works well for this type of task. Then place learners into groups of three and give each student a different paragraph. If possible, put each paragraph on different colour card. Give the class one minute to read their paragraphs without writing down any notes. When time’s up, they must place their texts face down. For the next three minutes, each teammate has about a minute to tell their team what their paragraph said, so they can decide on the order of the paragraphs. For the final minute, ask teams to give reasons for their decisions. This will encourage learners to further paraphrase their texts before you, finally, ask teams to turn the texts over and check if they figured out the correct order.
Back to the Board (listening & speaking)
Back to the Board is an ice-breaker that can be adapted for all ages and levels and is an excellent student-centred approach to revising vocabulary by paraphrasing key words. To set this task up, you need to divide the class into two teams and place two chairs at the front of the class facing away from the whiteboard or Smartboard. You’ll also need a list of vocabulary learnt in previous sessions and a scoreboard. Nominate one person from each team to sit with their backs to the board. Once they are seated, emphasise that they mustn’t peek! Then, write one word from your list on the board. Ask the class to describe the word on the board. The first person with their backs to the board to shout out the correct word earns a point for their team. Have a new pair come up, and keep repeating the process until you complete the list of words. The team with the most points wins.
It’s always a good idea to demonstrate at least one example before nominating the first two students:
- Write the word on the whiteboard: e.g., houseboat
- Demonstrate an explanation without saying ‘house’ or ‘boat’: It’s an unusual type of home that floats. You can see this kind of home on canals or lakes.
Message Trail (writing)
A very quick writing task to encourage learners to paraphrase when they write is called Message Trail. This ice-breaker is easy to prepare – all you need are four sentences targeting vocabulary and structures previously learnt in class. Put learners into groups of four and give each person a piece of paper that has a different sentence. Tell learners they need to change one word in the message so that it still has the same meaning then pass the message to the person on their left. Keep passing and rephrasing the messages until the teams run out of ideas of how to paraphrase the sentences. Finally, have each team read out their final sentence to compare the types of paraphrases they came up with. The team with the most paraphrases that still reflects the meaning of the first sentence wins.
It’s also a good idea to do one example with the class. For example:
I rarely have enough time to clean my room.
I hardly ever have enough time to clean my room .
I hardly ever have enough time to clean my bedroom .
I hardly ever have time to clean my bedroom.
Only on rare occasions do I have time to clean my bedroom.
Only on rare occasions do I have time to tidy up my bedroom.
Paraphrasing for exam success
You’ll be doing your learners a great service by reinforcing how to paraphrase in the classroom, as it is a skill that is needed for exams from A2 onwards. For speaking assessments, for example, encouraging learners to paraphrase by rephrasing statements, questions or ideas, and saying them in a different way, results in higher marks.
Many listening and reading exams often have questions that test listening or reading for detailed meaning, gist, feelings, attitudes and opinions, all of which require learners to decode paraphrases. In order to achieve this, learners need to piece together the different paraphrases they hear or read in order to arrive at the correct answer. So even at the lower end of the CEFR scale, paraphrasing comes into play.
Writing exams generally award lower marks if learners simply lift vocabulary off the question paper rather than paraphrase the information provided to complete the task. For example, the new B1 Preliminary Part 1 Writing task requires learners to write an email in about 100 words using four note prompts in a situational email. Learners should always aim to rephrase the prompts and the language that appears in the email in order to receive higher marks. Importantly, they need to identify what type of information they need to write about, rephrase information in the email and add their own ideas.
For example, learners should avoid copying large segments of text that appear in the email like this:
I’m really happy we’re working on the science project together too!
Encourage them to paraphrase like this:
I’m so glad we’re going to be partners for the science project!
Hopefully, by developing your learners’ ability to paraphrase in the classroom, they’ll have the skill and confidence to perform well in exams. However, the real icing on the cake is for learners to become self-aware of the power of paraphrasing and how it can support their language learning journey.
About the author
Judy Alden originally comes from Vancouver and has over 18 years’ experience teaching in South East Asia and Europe. She combines being a freelance assessment writer with delivering teacher training workshops, while also writing ELT course books and materials for international publishers.
As an assessment writer based in the UK, she often gets asked to produce listening assessments varying between British and American English. Judy has also written young learner assessment materials for the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education.
Advancing Learning: Developing real conversation skills
Advancing Learning: EMI: English as a medium of instruction
Advancing Learning: Confessions from an obsessive language learner: what I have learnt from continually studying languages for 32 years
Advancing Learning: How to approach essay writing
Advancing Learning: Helping very young learners improve their collaboration skills
Advancing Learning: Multisensory learning in the inclusive classroom
Advancing Learning: Guilt-free teaching – how your students learn more when you plan less
Advancing Learning: The challenges of speaking
Advancing Learning: The fifth skill – 'viewing'
Advancing Learning: Teaching mediation
Advancing Learning: Five strategies to help students cultivate a growth mindset
Advancing Learning: Making blended learning useful and effective
Advancing Learning: Does anyone really need to use a dictionary?
Advancing Learning: Moving towards learning-friendly teaching
Advancing Learning: The secrets of using learning routines with young children
Advancing Learning: Gamification
Advancing Learning: Online Language Teacher Education
Advancing Learning: A practical guide to online professional development
Advancing Learning: Top tips for managing your pre-primary classroom
Advancing Learning: Long live 'Life Skills'!
Advancing Learning: Global Citizenship Education in the ELT classroom
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Techniques for effective paraphrasing
On this page, techniques for paraphrasing, getting started, effective paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing is an important skill for academic writing, and yet it is very often misunderstood. Commonly, paraphrasing is expressed as “restating someone else’s ideas in your own words.” While this is technically accurate, it can lead students to believe that paraphrasing is simply about finding synonyms to replace the words in the original author’s text. Paraphrasing is most effective and useful when you think about it as a way to explain someone else’s ideas in relation to, or in the context of, your own argument.
When writers are new to paraphrasing, they might think it’s acceptable to simply substitute certain words with synonyms. Here is an example, taken from the writing handbook They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein :
“Whenever you enter into a conversation with others in your writing, then, it is extremely important that you go back to what those others have said, that you study it very closely, and that you not confuse it with something you already believe” (2014, p. 33).
If a writer was told to “put this sentence into her own words,” and simply tried to find synonyms, they might end up with something like this:
Anytime someone dialogues with different authors, it is crucial that they return to what those different authors have said, that they scrutinize it, and that they avoid mistaking it for what they previously accepted (Graff & Birkenstein, 2014, p. 33).
You will notice that this example uses very few of the same words as the original quotation (i.e., it has been put into the author’s “own words”). However, it might be difficult for the reader to understand.
More seriously, this paraphrase could be considered plagiarism or patch-writing —even though the source is cited! Why?
Substituting synonyms for some of the author’s original words does not explain the source, highlight its importance, or show the reader how the source helps convey the paper’s argument. To do these things, an acceptable paraphrase must also change the structure of the author’s expression.
Here is an example of an effective paraphrase of the quotation above:
Graff and Birkenstein (2014) argue throughout their book They Say/I Say that writing is a conversation. When engaging in this conversation, they caution that writers must read carefully in order to ensure that they both understand, and provide fair consideration to, the ideas of others.
Notice three crucial things about this paraphrase:
- The author has signalled that the idea comes from the source They Say/I Say (this signalling can be done within the sentence, as it is above, or it can be done through an in-text citation).
- The author has “zoomed out” from the original quotation in order to explain the big idea being presented in the source text.
- The author has changed the original structure by making two sentences from one. This step helps to accomplish both #1 and #2, above.
Rather than being about words , paraphrasing is about ideas . Instead of focusing on replacing specific words in a quotation, it is more helpful when paraphrasing to think deeply about the ideas that the original author is explaining. Once you understand those ideas, you can “zoom out” and explain the most important idea (or ideas) in your own way.
Try these steps to write an effective paraphrase
Step 1: Read a paragraph from an article that you find interesting or that you are using to write a paper.
Step 2: Make notes to yourself about the most important idea or ideas presented in the paragraph (make these notes in point form, rather than in sentences)
Step 3: Put the article away and, using only your point-form notes, explain the most important idea(s) to someone else.
I Used My Own Words! Paraphrasing Informational Texts
- Resources & Preparation
- Instructional Plan
- Related Resources
Paraphrasing helps students make connections with prior knowledge, demonstrate comprehension, and remember what they have read. Through careful explanation and thorough modeling by the teacher in this lesson, students learn to use paraphrasing to monitor their comprehension and acquire new information. They also realize that if they cannot paraphrase after reading, they need to go back and reread to clarify information. In pairs, students engage in guided practice so that they can learn to use the strategy independently. Students will need prompting and encouragement to use this strategy after the initial instruction is completed. The lesson can be extended to help students prepare to write reports about particular topics.
- San Diego Zoo: Animal Bytes
- National Geographic Kids: Creature Features
- Australia Zoo: Amazing Animals
From Theory to Practice
- Paraphrasing helps readers monitor their comprehension.
- Paraphrasing encourages readers to make connections with prior knowledge.
- Paraphrasing helps readers remember what they have read.
- In effective strategy instruction, the teacher explains the purpose of the strategy, how to use it, and when and where to use it
- In effective strategy instruction, the teacher models strategy use for students and provides guided practice before expecting students to use the strategy independently.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
Materials and Technology
- Computers with Internet access
- Whiteboard (or overhead) for projection of text and shared writing
- Print or digital texts on instructional levels of students in the class
- Individual copies of texts (if computers are not available)
- Demonstrate comprehension by paraphrasing facts from informational texts
- Gain knowledge and apply what they have learned about paraphrasing by reading information about three unusual animals
Session 1: Introduction of Paraphrasing
Session 2: review and guided practice with paraphrasing, session 3: review and guided practice with paraphrasing, session 4: review and independent practice with paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing is a good way to prepare students to write written reports. When students put information into their own words, they are not copying directly from a text. After the previous four sessions, a possible extension would be to identify another topic (such as countries, planets, plants), have students brainstorm what kind of questions would be interesting to answer about these, assign print materials or websites for students to read and paraphrase, take notes to answer the questions, and prepare written reports. These would be more formal than the quick writes that were done in the paraphrasing sessions.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Throughout the sessions, when students are working in pairs or independently, make note of whether or not they are using their own words in paraphrasing. Be ready to intervene with additional modeling and practice if students are having difficulty paraphrasing.
- The quick writes at the end of the sessions should be collected to see whether students are using their own words, whether they have understood the text they read, and what information they have learned about the animals. Compare the prior knowledge that you assessed at the beginning of each session with the information included in the quick writes to see what new information has been learned.
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Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words
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This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.
Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material. Anytime you are taking information from a source that is not your own, you need to specify where you got that information.
A paraphrase is...
- Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
- One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
- A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because...
- It is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.
- It helps you control the temptation to quote too much.
- The mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
- Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
- Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
- Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
- Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Some examples to compare
Note that the examples in this section use MLA style for in-text citation.
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers . 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 46-47.
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).
A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
A note about plagiarism: This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to deploy any citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. However, we acknowledge that plagiarism is a difficult term to define; that its definition may be contextually sensitive; and that not all instances of plagiarism are created equal—that is, there are varying “degrees of egregiousness” for different cases of plagiarism.
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Learning about Paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is like...
Direct Quotations and Paraphrases
Learn how to cite and format direct quotations, including short quotations and block quotations; make and indicate changes to quotations; and cite paraphrased material.
© 2022 American Psychological Association.
Paraphrasing is a Process
Through the process of paraphrasing, you wil do the following:
- Understand what the author is trying to convey/explain/state
- Interact with the source to decide what purpose these words will play in your own writing
- Think critically to put the passage into your own words
- Differentiate between key words and common words
- Cite a source without using an exact quote
Use the 4 R process below in "Key Resource" to help you with paraphrasing.
Understanding Paraphrasing versus Summarizing
Properly Paraphrasing - Group Session
Tuesday 3:00 p.m. & Friday 4:00 p.m.
This group session provides students with strategies and tips to help students build paraphrasing skills. Students can bring their questions and concerns about paraphrasing to the session, participate in paraphrasing activities, group discussions, and evaluate sample paraphrases. You are encouraged to attend this group session whenever you have questions about paraphrasing or want to brush up on your paraphrasing skills. Coaching Scheduler
Key Resource: The 4 R's--A Paraphrasing Strategy
Using the 4 R's as a Paraphrasing Strategy
Review the graphic below that explains the 4 R's: Read, Restate, Recheck, and Repair and use the attached graphic organizer to help you practice paraphrasing by using this strategy. For additional practice, attend the Properly Paraphrasing group session Sundays and Fridays at 4:00 p.m. PST.
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8 Signs That You Were Destined to Be a Teacher
10 reasons to attend rice university (rice.edu), teaching students about the meaning of “ring around the rosie”, teaching students about the age of confirmation, 10 reasons to attend rhodes college (rhodes.edu), teaching students about tlachtli, teaching students about quarter horse racing, teaching students about the reconstruction period, teaching students about genesis in hebrew, teaching students about ranch-style houses, how to use the summarizing and paraphrasing strategy in your classroom.
For this teaching method, either the instructor or learner summarizes something someone previously said in their own words to ensure they comprehend each other without any misconceptions.
- By having a learner repeat the instructor’s statement in their own words, the instructor can see whether learners understand something.
- By repeating a learner’s statement in different languages, the instructor can see whether they truly understand what the learner means.
- The most significant risk here is in the instructor’s putting words in the learner’s mouth. This may give the learner a free pass.
- The instructor explains a concept, then asks the learner to repeat it without using the same terms. A pause between the instructor’s explanation and the learner’s response can help prevent the learner from directly copying the instructor’s language. Over time, the meaning must remain, but the exact terms must be forgotten.
- Alternatively, the learner makes a statement, and the instructor translates it in their own words and finishes with, “Is that what you meant?”
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Paraphrase in two ways
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Frequently asked questions
The act of putting someone else’s ideas or words into your own words is called paraphrasing, rephrasing, or rewording. Even though they are often used interchangeably, the terms can mean slightly different things:
Paraphrasing is restating someone else’s ideas or words in your own words while retaining their meaning. Paraphrasing changes sentence structure, word choice, and sentence length to convey the same meaning.
Rephrasing may involve more substantial changes to the original text, including changing the order of sentences or the overall structure of the text.
Rewording is changing individual words in a text without changing its meaning or structure, often using synonyms.
It can. One of the two methods of paraphrasing is called “Fluency.” This will improve the language and fix grammatical errors in the text you’re paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing and using a paraphrasing tool aren’t cheating. It’s a great tool for saving time and coming up with new ways to express yourself in writing. However, always be sure to credit your sources. Avoid plagiarism.
If you don’t properly cite text paraphrased from another source, you’re plagiarizing. If you use someone else’s text and paraphrase it, you need to credit the original source. You can do that by using citations. There are different styles, like APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Find more information about citing sources here.
Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.
However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .
As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.
Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.
So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
- Paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .
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What’s Going On in This Picture? | Oct. 23, 2023
Look closely at this image, stripped of its caption, and join the moderated conversation about what you and other students see.
By The Learning Network
1. After looking closely at the image above (or at the full-size image ), think about these three questions:
What is going on in this picture?
What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can you find?
2. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
3. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
Each Monday, our collaborator, Visual Thinking Strategies , will facilitate a discussion from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time by paraphrasing comments and linking to responses to help students’ understanding go deeper. You might use their responses as models for your own.
4. On Thursday afternoons, we will reveal at the bottom of this post more information about the photo. How does reading the caption and learning its back story help you see the image differently?
This week’s image comes from the article “ The Cotillion ,” published on June 15, 2023. The article begins:
In a heady swirl of bright white silk and lace, the young ladies of the Cotillion Society of Detroit Educational Foundation are presented as debutantes. The Society’s annual ball is the culmination of eight months of etiquette lessons, leadership workshops, community service projects and cultural events. As the girls take to the dance floor, they become part of a legacy of Black debutantes in the city and beyond. Debutante balls, which traditionally helped girls from high society find suitable husbands, emerged from Europe in the 18th century. Black Americans have adopted a unique version of them since at least 1895 . Responding to the politics of the Jim Crow era, these balls, which emphasized women’s education, echoed the work of the racial upliftment movement and women’s clubs, said Taylor Bythewood-Porter, the curator of a recent exhibition on Black cotillions at the California African American Museum. Organizers saw the balls as a way to “dismiss the idea of Black people not being smart enough, or good enough, or worthy enough.” For today’s debutantes, many of whom grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods of Detroit, gaining an informal network of Black adult mentors was “life-changing,” said Sage Johnson, 17. “Signing up for debutantes, I thought it was just one big ball. But there were a lot more layers to it.”
Miranda Barnes is the photographer.
• See all images in this series or slide shows of 40 of our favorite images — or 40 more .
• Learn more about this feature in this video , and discover how and why other teachers are using it in their classrooms in our on-demand webinar .
• Find out how teachers can be trained in the Visual Thinking Strategies facilitation method.
Students 13 and older in the United States and the Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.
Tips for Grads: Networking strategies every grad should know
By Emily Azevedo-Casey, PhD student
In this article, we will explore some lesser-known networking strategies that you can implement right now, at any stage of your grad career, even if you aren’t actively job searching. Building a network takes time, so the earlier you start, the more practice you get, and the more opportunities can come your way. These tips, from Beyond the Professoriate’s recent webinar, “How to Network When You Don’t Have A Network”, are intended to empower and encourage you to make the most out of the networking resources available to you while at UW.
Create SMART networking goals. Make it a point to regularly research and connect to the types of careers and roles you might be interested in. For instance, on Wednesdays, I review posts on a professional listserv and on Fridays, I connect with at least one person on there. Every three months, I check back in with my contacts with relevant updates or comment thoughtfully on their professional social media posts. Here’s a past Tips for Grads that describes SMART goals in more detail.
Be genuine, honest, and interested in your approach. When you meet, avoid transactional interactions by having a clear purpose, coming prepared with questions, and intentionally following up. When I go into networking opportunities, one of my main goals is to understand how the person got to where they are now, so I ask questions about that.
Connect with your peers. Prioritize people who are similar in age and are earlier in their roles, as well as people who have gone through similar challenges or experiences because they will have more insight for you right now than recruiters or senior executives. Start with people you know. For international grads who want to stay in the U.S., connect with peers who have also gone through this. On LinkedIn, filter by institutions from your home country and U.S. locations where you want to live and work. Join the UW–Madison LinkedIn group now.
Networking can be awkward or overwhelming at first, so have a plan and use resources like LinkedIn, campus events, and alumni contacts to begin your journey. Log into your free account with Beyond the Professoriate or Beyond Graduate School , both of which have similar webinars about “How to Network When You Don’t Have a Network”, for a place to start. Finally, continue to watch GradConnections for campus networking events.
Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.
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Top Ways HBAs Can Support Student Chapters
NAHB’s student chapter program aims to give high school students across the country early exposure to the home building industry by helping them make connections through their local home builders’ association.
Two HBA executive officers shared tips and strategies that their HBAs have used to uplift and educate their chapters looking for ways to help their local student chapters.
“The key is the communication between the faculty rep and the staff of the HBA,” said Corey Deal, executive officer for the Greater Atlanta HBA. “Once you have that link, it’s easier to connect the builders who want to participate.”
Sarah Foster, executive offer for the HBA of the Upper Peninsula, said whenever her association signs up a new student chapter she regularly asks instructors what supplies are needed.
Her members have sent safety glasses, carpenter pencils, tape measures and, in some cases, even machinery to local high schools.
“We do raise funds during the year for student chapters, but for bigger stuff, I’ll put the ask out to my members, and it's covered every time because they know it's for the students,” Foster said.
Aside from donations, Foster shared the importance of face-to-face visits with schools.
Every year, builders in her area will speak to students in class and teach them about the various tools they need to know how to use on the jobsite. They’ll also enlighten students on the many different specialties available for a career in construction.
HBAs shouldn’t let student projects go to waste, either. Foster says she’s asked her student chapters if she could buy or auction off some of their projects. She once raised more than $150 at a silent auction for a student-made table and then gave the money back to the school.
NAHB’s Student Chapter Toolkit has all the information necessary to start a new student chapter.
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Senator Katie Britt: Barack Obama Looking For Moral Equivalency In The Israel-Hamas War Goes Back To His Appeasement Strategy As President
- Brian Kilmeade
Senator Katie Britt (R-AL), author of the new book “ God Calls Us to Do Hard Things: Lessons from the Alabama Wiregrass “, spoke to Brian Kilmeade about her trip to Israel and how it affected her seeing the videos of the Hamas massacre. On former President Obama saying “nobody’s hands are clean” in the Israel-Hamas war, Britt says it was Hamas that chose to take out innocent civilians throughout Israel. Britt added, there is no moral equivalency for what they’ve done and the fact the former president would say this goes back to his appeasement strategy, looking for moderates, including moderates in the Iranian regime.
Senator Britt also discussed her new book “ God Calls Us to Do Hard Things: Lessons from the Alabama Wiregrass “. Britt says the book is about the need to re-instill the value in Americans that you need to work hard to achieve, not where you keep your handout and expect the government to give you more.
Click here to order God Calls Us to Do Hard Things: Lessons from the Alabama Wiregrass
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