Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Verbal Strategy Families > Glossing and Paraphrase

Glossing and paraphrase strategies are strategies for finding another way to phrase an intended meaning. These strategies might be deployed for a variety of reasons:
  • On using a word that may not be clear to every member of an intended audience, a gloss may be inserted for clarity.
  • An author who does not think that an idea will be understood easily in one form may provide multiple explanations to help the reader triangulate on the intended content.
  • When using source materials, the author paraphrases the content in his/her own words.

The key to these kinds of strategies—definition, simple paraphrasing strategies such as word substitution, and more complex ones involving rephrasing—is that they enable the writer to explore alternatives rather than having to use whatever phrasing occurs naturally. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 34.

This ability corresponds to part of the skills needed to satisfy Writing Standard 8 from the Common Core State Standards.

Literature Note - Paraphrase

Development Table 34. Hypothesized Development of Glossing and Paraphrase Skills

(oral to sentence)
Identifies unfamiliar words or unclear phrases in a text.
Can deploy editing strategies in which one adds synonyms or short explanatory phrases (glosses) to clarify a text.
Achieves clarity of expression primarily by avoiding use of unfamiliar words or phrases or complex sentence structures.
(sentence to paragraph)
Can recognize when two expressions are direct paraphrases or restatements of the same underlying proposition, involving some combination of synonyms and syntactic rearrangement.
Can deploy simple paraphrase-based editing strategies in which one generates a different expression of one’s intended meaning and substitutes it for the original, unclear text.
Can produce multiple simple paraphrases (alternative ways to express the same proposition or simple statement) by substituting synonyms or applying simple sentence transformations.
(paragraph to text)
Can recognize when two passages are roughly equivalent paraphrases, because they express the same simple propositions but combine them differently, possibly using different terms for key ideas.
Can deploy comprehension strategies in which one reads a passage, paraphrases it, and then compares the original to the paraphrase to determine where one’s understanding of the original passage may have been deficient.
Can read a passage and paraphrase it accurately in one’s own words.
(text to context)
Can recognize and distinguish parallel passages and exact quotes shared across a pair of texts.
Can deploy comprehension strategies in which annotations (paraphrases of selected information) are used to create and sustain richer knowledge of key facts and details from a source text.
Can paraphrase selected information from a source and embed that paraphrase effectively into a longer text.
(text and context to discourse)
Given a published, edited text, can distinguish which parts of the text represent the author’s original ideas and which represent information paraphrased and inserted from some other source.
Can deploy editing strategies in which iterative paraphrase of unsatisfactory sections of a text is used to explore and clarify one’s intended meaning.
Can use appropriate syntactic devices (e.g., indirect speech, direct speech/quotation marks, tags) to mark information paraphrased or quoted from sources.

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