How to Teach Paraphrasing and Summarizing to Upper Elementary Students
As students advance through elementary education, they are assigned more complex writing assignments that require them to analyze information from various sources. The ability to accurately and effectively paraphrase and summarize information can be a helpful skill for students to succeed in these assignments.
What is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is the process of restating someone else’s ideas in your own words. It involves taking information from a source and rewording it in a way that conveys the same meaning but uses different words and sentence structures. Paraphrasing is an essential skill for academic writing, as it allows students to use information from sources while avoiding accidental plagiarism.
For example, suppose a student is researching transportation. They read the sentence, the direct quotation: “The introduction of autonomous vehicles is expected to revolutionize the transportation industry by increasing safety, reducing traffic congestion, and improving the overall efficiency of transportation systems.” The paraphrase would be: Autonomous vehicles have the potential to transform the transportation industry by enhancing safety, minimizing traffic congestion, and boosting the overall effectiveness of transportation systems.
Types of Paraphrasing
There are several types of paraphrasing, including descriptive, comparative, and argumentative paraphrasing.
Descriptive paraphrasing involves restating information in a more detailed or specific way. This type of paraphrasing can be useful when students need to explain complex concepts or ideas.
Comparative paraphrasing involves comparing or contrasting information from two or more sources. This type of paraphrasing can be useful when students need to analyze and synthesize information from multiple sources.
Argumentative paraphrasing involves restating information in a way that supports a specific argument or viewpoint. This type of paraphrasing can be useful when students need to persuade others to agree with their ideas.
What is Summarizing?
Summarizing is the process of condensing information from a source into a shorter version that includes only the most important information. Summarizing is an important skill for academic writing, as it allows students to communicate the key points of a text in a concise and clear way.
Back to our original quote example, the summary would be “Autonomous vehicles will bring about significant changes in the transportation industry by making transportation safer, more efficient, and less congested.”
Paraphrasing involves restating information using different words and sentence structures, while summarizing involves condensing information into a shorter version that includes only the most important information.
Why is Paraphrasing and Summarizing Important?
Paraphrasing and summarizing are important skills for upper elementary students to develop for several reasons.
First, these skills help students avoid plagiarism. When students paraphrase or summarize information, they are putting the information into their own words, which helps them avoid copying and pasting from sources without giving credit.
Second, these skills help students develop critical thinking skills. When students paraphrase or summarize information, they must analyze the information and determine what is most important or relevant. This requires them to think critically about the information they are reading.
Finally, these skills help students communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. When students paraphrase or summarize information, they are able to convey important information in a way that is easy to understand and remember.
How to Paraphrase and Summarize
Teaching students how to paraphrase and summarize effectively can be a challenging task. However, by following a few simple steps, you can help your students develop these important skills.
Here are the three steps to paraphrasing a sentence effectively:
- Read the original sentence carefully and make sure you understand the meaning of the sentence.
- Put the original sentence aside and try to recreate the sentence using different words and sentence structures.
- Compare your paraphrased sentence to the original sentence to make sure that you have conveyed the same meaning.
Here are the three steps to summarizing a text effectively:
- Read the text carefully and identify the main idea or ideas.
- Highlight or take notes on the most important information in the text.
- Use the information you have highlighted or noted to create a summary that includes only the most important information.
Strategies for Teaching Paraphrasing and Summarizing to Upper Elementary Students
Teaching paraphrasing and summarizing to upper elementary students can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can make the process easier and more effective.
Another strategy for teaching paraphrasing and summarizing is to use familiar texts. For example, you might use a story that the students are familiar with and ask them to paraphrase or summarize certain parts of the story.
You could also use news articles or current events that are relevant to the students’ lives to help them practice paraphrasing and summarizing. By using familiar texts, you can help students connect the concepts of paraphrasing and summarizing to their own experiences.
Common Questions About Paraphrasing and Summarizing
What is the difference between a summary and a paraphrase?
A summary condenses information from a source into a shorter version that includes only the most important information. A paraphrase restates the information from a source in your own words, using different words and sentence structures.
Teaching paraphrasing and summarizing to upper elementary students can be challenging, but it is an essential skill for academic writing and critical thinking. By using interactive teaching techniques, familiar texts, and graphic organizers, and by answering common questions about paraphrasing and summarizing, you can help your students become proficient at these important skills. With practice, your students will be able to effectively paraphrase and summarize information, avoid plagiarism, and communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.