GEAR UP Writing Webinars - Episode 3: Paraphrasing Evidence

This webinar and supplemental activities provide information and teaching strategies for instruction on paraphrasing evidence for the GED Writing test.

Vicki Estrem
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Minneapolis Community Education
Publication Year
Resource Type
Instructional Material
Product Type

Paraphrasing Evidence is designed to prepare instructors to help adult learners succeed through the writing and critical-thinking requirements of the GED and later college or workplace environment. The webinar and related materials also provide instructional strategies, sample lesson plans, and curriculum resources. There is also identified pre-work and web activities to be viewed prior to viewing the webinar. Supplementary resources include: lesson plans, paraphrasing activities, steps for paraphrasing, and rubrics for evaluating paraphrasing. Lessons and activities are of increasing difficulty.

What the experts say

This is a well organized and logically-presented a professional development presentation. It has value for its timeless focus on helping students recognize the difference between a summary and a paraphrase at the micro level of a word to a phrase, a sentence, and a paragraph, all with extensive instructions and many helpful handouts. Learning how to paraphrase well requires close reading, much critical thinking, and practice based on teacher modeling. Estrem applies the contemporary SIM program--Strategic Instruction Model--in executing her lesson and thereby does double duty, showing teachers how to teach with fluidity and grace while teaching students how to master the ever-important skill of paraphrasing what one reads. Furthermore, these lessons can work for low-level ABE and ESL students all the way through to our HSE level readers; Estrem’s recommended texts allow for a large class of multi-leveled students to manage digesting the difference between summary and paraphrase without tears. This video is recommended for professional development purposes for any teacher who instructs adult learners across programs, grade levels, and subjects.

Whether used for preparing students to meet the most difficult writing challenges of the GED, college, and the workplace, or for helping them develop more advanced critical thinking in their lives, this resource provides a valuable tool to be added to any writing instructor’s toolbox. The process of paraphrasing has proven to significantly improve the writing skills of adults. “Gear Up Writing Episode 3: Paraphrasing” offers instructors effective guidance and support to quickly engage adults who often resist writing activities.

The webinar is very strong up until the section on paraphrasing at the paragraph level and the discussion of RAP. At this point, the differences between paraphrasing and summarizing get muddied. The purpose of RAP is to help with reading comprehension. Other purposes of paraphrasing (and summarizing) relate to writing and test taking (namely in sharing/condensing material without plagiarizing). The different purposes of paraphrasing are not kept distinct in the webinar, so teachers are likely to either come away confused or to teach in a way that may ultimately confuse their students.

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