Learning Strategy 2: Paraphrasing 

Robert Harris
Version Date: 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: "The amount of pleasure and satisfaction we derive from experience has as much to do with how the experience relates to expectations as it does with the qualities of the experience itself." --Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice

Paraphrase: How much  you enjoy and are pleased with an experience depends as much on what you expected from it beforehand as it does on what you actually experienced.  --adapted from Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice

Here we have 32 words paraphrased into 28 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

Copyright 2013 by Robert Harris | CCC 7000520813 | How to cite this page
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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