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Your Genes, Your Choices

Reading Strategy: Paraphrasing
 


This page will explain how to do good paraphrases.
By paraphrasing what you read, you will remember and understand more.


A paraphrase should include a main idea and at least two supporting details. For example, look at this paragraph:


Genes are units of information inside the cells of your body. They contain the instructions for making cells and for doing the work that goes on inside them. It is through the genes that traits are handed down from parents to children, in a process called heredity.

In this paragraph the main idea is expressed in the first sentence: "Genes are units of information inside the cells of your body." The first sentence of a paragraph is often a good place to look for the main idea of a paragraph. It's not always there, but often is.

In a good paraphrase, the main idea and details should be:

  • expressed in complete thoughts

  • accurate

  • in your own words
Example of a
Good Paraphrase:

       Genes contain instructions for the cells in your body. Traits are handed down from parents to kids through their genes. This process is known as heredity.

 

Details from this paragraph include:

    1. Genes contain instructions.
    2. Traits are handed down through genes.
    3. The process is called heredity.

Putting this all together in a good paraphrase, you would get:

 

Main Idea
Genes are units of information inside the cells of your body.

Detail 1

Genes contain instructions
Detail 2
Through genes traits are handed down.
Detail 3
The process is called heredity.

 


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Last updated: September 15, 2000