Learning The Difference Between Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

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SWBAT determine the differences between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing as a way to incorporate research into their writing.

Big Idea

Do we quote directly? Do we paraphrase ideas? Do we summarize the main ideas? Looking at determining when each is the best.

Reading Time

10 minutes

Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time.  This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.

Guided Instruction: Reading and Learning

10 minutes

In the previous lesson, students learned how to define plagiarism. The next step is to discuss ways to avoid it by looking at the differences between paraphrasing, summarizing, and using direct quotes. While these three concepts may seem juvenile to some, I think it's important to highlight them as students are not used to doing this type of work with research writing. While they have summarized by eighth grade, they may not be clearly summarized the work of others in order to support their own thinking.

I begin the lesson by pulling up the Plagiarism, Paraphrasing, Etc. Powerpoint on the Smartboard. This section focuses on Slide 5 Screenshot.  This will serve as a reminder for the directions for this part of the section. Students then read the Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Handout from Purdue's Online Writing Lab. This is a fantastic web-site to use to find information for the writing process. As students are reading the handout, they will look for answers to the following questions, which are on slide 5:

  • Why would a writer use quotations, paraphrases, and/or summaries?
  • What are the steps to take when you wish to summarize or paraphrase an original text?
  • When should you use a quotation in your writing?

They will read the article and look for answers to those questions. Depending on the class, you can turn this into partner work. This is great when students need to process their thinking with each other. Another option is to work through this as a large class. This is beneficial if students need to be focused constantly. I find it great when students read through the article and answer the questions with a partner and then we discuss the answers as a class.

The one question I really highlight is number 1: why use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. It lists different reasons for using each of them and I have students take it a step further and decide which would be the best to use when trying to get a certain point across. For example, one of the reasons is give examples of several points of view on a subject. We discuss if it would be best to use a paraphrase, summary, or quotation for that. While all three can work, we discuss that paraphrase would be best so you can have more information for each example.

Group Instruction: Defining Examples

10 minutes

After students understand the differences between paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting, in terms of definitions, the next step is to be able to identify them in examples so students can then make decisions on which ones to use as the write their own research papers.

I pull up the Plagiarism, Paraphrasing, Etc. PowerPoint on the Smartboard. For the rest of the lesson, we will focus on slide 6 (and here is a screenshot: Slide 6 Screenshot). This slide explains the instructions. We will read the Paraphrasing Passages Example Handout as a class. This handout includes an example from an excerpt from a biography on L. Frank Baum. I use biographies since students are writing research papers on influential people. Then there are three examples of either paraphrasing, summary, or plagiarism. We discuss each example and review which one would be which. The first example is paraphrase, the second is summary, and the third is plagiarized.

This video discusses ways to use the handout: Paraphrase Handout Explanation

Depending on the class, teachers would want to try to differentiate in this section. You may need to discuss each one at a time for students who need that support. Other students are able to highlight the differences immediately. In that case, you can discuss how a writer would use each of these examples in a paper and also how to fix the plagiarized version. Part of our discussion is that plagiarism is more than just copy and pasting and even more than rewording.