Teaching Micro-Paraphrasing in Remote Learning Environments

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In this article, library director Terry Darr shares her four-step process for teaching micro-paraphrasing—a valuable student research skill that helps students contextualize evidence and avoid plagiarism—with developed lesson plans for both in-person and virtual learning.


When COVID-19 unexpectedly closed schools last spring, librarians needed to quickly figure out ways to reach our students for the information literacy instruction we normally provide. While we are accustomed to providing digital resources, there are challenges to overcome without the physical parameters of the library and the classrooms for instruction. Transitioning our instruction through screencasting is an effective option. Ethical paraphrasing is an important information literacy skill, making this topic ideal for a video.

Micro-paraphrasing is a two sentence, four-step method for paraphrasing that emphasizes reading comprehension. Since it only uses two sentences, it is less confusing for students than the old advice to read a paragraph and “put it into your own words.” High school students should learn micro-paraphrasing with subject area articles from the Web and research databases. Intermediate grades will benefit from micro-paraphrasing instruction using sentences from encyclopedia articles and textbooks. The discussion of critical terms can be a very beneficial vocabulary lesson for younger students…

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