Tools You Can Use – A Writing Paraphrases Exercise

13 Jun

As part of my consulting work this last academic year, I’ve fielded a number of questions about writing basics, specifically, about strategies for actively involving learners in gaining basic skills for research- and analysis-based writing.  One of the more common queries was related to the work of paraphrasing; for one of those consultations, I worked to update an active learning resource a writing colleague presented at a writing conference.  

Pages 1 & 2 of the Paraphrasing – Introduction and Activities document place this into context as both a writing skill and a thinking practice.  The pages 3 & 4 activity aims to engage students in evaluating and creating paraphrases, working with a specific example from a contemporary speech. In the hands of teachers I’ve worked with, this activity becomes a framework, with the practice quotations shifting to examples the teacher selects from his/her own field.  Also, teachers have asked students to identify a passage from research that they’re finding difficult to paraphrase, with that passage becoming a starting place for small group work – students in each of the small groups taking turns at writing paraphrases from these difficult passages.  

Finally, I’ve set the exercise up as a word document so that you can modify it to your needs, or share it with students “as is” so that they can type directly into a word document in completing the homework.  Attributions to the original sources are noted on pages 2 and 4.


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