Appropriate Grade Level: 3rd to 12th Grade
Purpose: Improve understanding of expository materials by getting the main ideas through paraphrasing.

The paraphrasing strategy helps students recall the main ideas and specific facts of materials they read. There are three steps for teaching this strategy. (described below)

  1. A scripted lesson;
  2. Cue cards for learning and generalizing the strategy;
  3. Worksheets.

  1. Read a paragraph.

  2. Read the paragraph silently. As you read, be sure to think what the words mean.
  3. Ask yourself, "What were the main ideas and details of this paragraph?"

  4. After reading the paragraph, ask yourself, "What were the main ideas and details?" This question helps you to think about what you just read. You can also look quickly back over the paragraph to help you find the main idea and the details related to the main idea.
  5. Put the main idea and details in your own words.

  6. Now put the main idea and details into your own words. This will help you remember the information. Try to give at least two details related to the main idea.

The acronym for these steps is RAP. (Paraphrasing is like rapping or talking to yourself.)

Some rules that help find the main idea are:
  • Look for it in the first sentence of the paragraph.
  • Look for repetitions of the same word or words in the whole paragraph.

Evaluation of Effectiveness:
Compare the students' scores on comprehension questions or skill sheets or reading tests before and after implementation of this intervention.

Bos, C.S. & Vaughn, S. (2002). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.