Teaching Summarizing and Paraphrasing

Summarizing and paraphrasing can be difficult skills for students to master. Often they do not understand the differences between the two and when to use them.

In the library, I review these skills when I do any type of research project. Teaching a skill in context is always more effective than teaching it in isolation. 

The Difference Between Summarizing and Paraphrasing

Summarizing is retelling the main idea in your own words. A summary should be short and to the point. Only the most important ideas should be included. Whereas paraphrasing is retelling the text in your own words. These two concepts are very similar which leads to the confusion many students have. 

How I Teach My Students About Summarizing and Paraphrasing

This is why I created my Summarizing and Paraphrasing Activity Pack. This activity pack is designed to engage your students in meaningful practice in key reading skills with both fiction and informational text. 

There are 8 anchor charts or posters that can be displayed on a bulletin board or used as a slideshow during teaching. The posters include:

  • definition of each term
  • the key differences between each the two
  • steps on how to summarize fiction text using the SWBST method (somebody wanted but so then)
  • steps on how to summarize nonfiction text
  • steps on how to paraphrase
  • two charts explaining the note taking process

There are also various worksheets and graphic organizers that provide students the opportunity to practice what they have learned. In addition, I have also created 40 task cards that give students additional practice. The task cards are differentiated so they can be used with more students and grade levels.

This activity pack also comes in a Google Slides version that is virtually identical to the print version. You can choose the option that works best for you.

How do you like teaching about summarizing and paraphrasing? I’d love to hear your tips in the Facebook group!

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