Learning Strategy 2: Paraphrasing 

Robert Harris
Version Date:  August 16, 2018

February 27, 2014

A paraphrase is a restatement of an idea into your own words. You turn a sentence  you have read or heard into about the same number of your own words. Different words, same meaning. For example:

Original sentence: "Taking a few minutes away from our too-busy lives each day can provide the mental refreshment we need to recharge and move forward." --Anony Mous

Paraphrase: According to Anony Mous, we should interrupt our overly busy daily schedule each day by spending a few minutes off, to supply the mental restoration we require to refill our energy and continue our productivity. --Anony Mous

Here we have 24 words paraphrased into 31 words, which is a similar number. The central idea of a paraphrase is that it preserves all the meaning and details (whereas a summary omits details and preserves only the main ideas).

Paraphrasing Is an Aid to Learning

Paraphrasing is a valuable learning strategy for the following reasons:

Paraphrasing Allows You to Organize Ideas

You can use paraphrasing to

How to Paraphrase

The formula for paraphrasing is:

Examples of Paraphrases

Original Sentence: "It turns out to be very difficult, for instance, to unlearn or ignore bad information--even when we know it is wrong or should be ignored."  --Joseph T. Hallinan, Why We Make Mistakes Get Why We Make Mistakes from Amazon.com

Paraphrase: Even when we are told that some information is wrong and should be disregarded, we still find it hard to forget it or avoid it. --adapted from Joseph T. Hallinan, Why We Make Mistakes

Original Sentence: "Leaders empower employees through consistent information sharing and increased decision-making responsibility and autonomy." --Paul Marciano, Carrots and Sticks Don't Work
Get Carrots and Sticks Don't Work from Amazon.com

Paraphrase:  When leaders regularly share information, give decision-making authority, and allow autonomy, they empower their employees. --adapted from Paul Marciano, Carrots and Sticks Don't Work
Original Sentence: "Learning occurs best when new information is incorporated gradually into to the memory store rather that when it is jammed in all at once. --John Medina, Brain Rules
Get Brain Rules from Amazon.com

Paraphrase: The best way to learn something it is to study it a little at a time instead of trying to memorize it all at the same time. --adapted from John Medina, Brain Rules

VirtualSalt Home
Learning Strategy 1: Mnemonics
Learning Strategy 2: Paraphrasing
Learning Strategy 3: Summarizing
Learning Strategy 4: Self Monitoring
Learning Strategy 5: Self Explanation
Learning Strategy 6: Mental Rehearsal
Learning Strategy 7: Self Assessment
Learning Strategy 8: The SQ3R Reading Method
Learning Strategy 9: Note Taking
Learning Strategy 10: The Leitner Flash Card System
Learning Strategy 11: Maintaining Interest
Learning Strategy 12: Conversation
Learning Strategy 13: Group Interaction
Learning Strategy 14: Idea Mapping
Learning Strategy 15: Drawing Pictures
Learning Strategy 16: Study Cycles
Learning Strategy 17: Sleep and Rest
Learning Strategy 18: Fluency / Automaticity
Learning Strategy 19: Learning Strategy Checklist
Learning Strategy 20: Asking Questions
Learning Strategy 21: Idea Linking
Learning Strategy 22: How to Use a Book
Learning Strategy 23: Active Listening
Learning Strategy 24: Close Reading
Learning Strategy 25: Fluency / Automaticity
Learning Strategy 26: Power Thinking
Learning Strategy 27: Planning for Learning
Learning Strategy 28: Outlining
Learning Strategy 29: Analogies

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About the author:
Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com