4th Grade - Quote Or Paraphrase Information, Citing Sources

Research and Technology
Quote or paraphrase information, citing sources
Quote or paraphrase information sources, citing them appropriately. (research - technology)
The ability to cite sources with integrity, or allegiance to, the original author, artist, or piece of work. Understand that citations are necessary when directly quoting and/ or paraphrasing information from each source.

Sample Problems


What is a source? (a resource; the supply of information)


What is a citation? (a reference to the original source)


When do we use quotes in citations? (when directly quoting words, phrases, or passages from sources)


What is paraphrasing? (rewording someone else’s idea or saying into your own words)


Why do we paraphrase? (when we can say something better or more succinctly (shorter) than the source)

Learning Tips


The concept of citations and referencing, or referring to, someone’s ideas is new at this age, and sometimes difficult to comprehend. The easiest relationship children will connect this concept with is the act of copying, which is usually cheating. A new word to introduce is plagiarism, which is illegally copying or reproducing someone else’s work or ideas. Have a discussion about why this act of copying is wrong. You can bring up issues such as students being kicked out of college for plagiarizing on papers. You can ask questions such as, “Would you want someone to copy you and take all the credit for your hard work? Why not?” and “What would be the best way to give someone credit for their ideas?”


A general rule of thumb is: if you can’t understand it, neither can we! So instead of directly quoting the text, try paraphrasing it – understand it as best as you can and put it in your own words.

Example – http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-crocodile.html:

For such ancient, ferocious-looking animals, crocodilian moms take really good care of their hatchlings! Crocs are one of the few reptiles that watch out for and protect their young until they are old enough to be on their own. The cow (female croc) looks for just the right place to build a nest to lay her eggs.”

(SanDiegoZoo.org, 2008)

This is much to long to have as a direct quote, but it has important information for your report on crocodiles. Try paraphrasing the paragraph, taking out only the most important information for your report. It could look something like this (notice there are no quotation marks):

Crocodile females are protective parents. They carefully search for a nesting place to lay their eggs and then stick around until the babies hatch and are old enough to survive independently. (SanDiegoZoo.org, 2008)


Unfortunately, there is a lot of plagiarism (copying others’ work and ideas) and incorrect citations on the Internet. There are also many great examples, but you have to know what to look for. So, here’s a couple places to see examples:


In a report where you are using quotes to support (prove) or negate (disprove) an idea or opinion (possibly your own), placement of the quote is important. Quotations from others usually should not begin or end paragraphs; rather, quotes should support the main idea of your paragraph that is expressed in your topic sentence (usually the first or second sentence in a paragraph). So, quotes should be mixed in the middle, or “meat” of paragraphs. Write a paragraph about your daily routine, incorporating a quote from a sibling or adult nearby.


Quotes or paraphrasing should never stand alone – there should be some reflection or discussion of the content of the quote. The best citations will be “woven in” to the rest of the text “seamlessly.” Rule of thumb: include at least 3 other sentences related to the quote or paraphrased information. These 3 or more sentences can be split with 1 or 2 before and after the quote or paraphrased information. Practice the split both ways.

Online Resources

Extra Help Problems


Why do we cite direct quotes? (to include an amazing idea or statement someone made that strengthens our text)


How do we cite for a direct quote? (using quotation marks for the exact quote and parentheses for the author’s or authors’ last name(s) and the year the text was published)


How do we cite for a paraphrased passage? (using parentheses for the author’s or authors’ last name(s) and the year the text was published)


What is the difference between a paraphrased passage and a direct quotation? (the parentheses go after a paraphrased passage’s period but before a quotation’s period)


How do we decide whether to paraphrase or quote directly? (depending on the length, format, words used, and sentence structure – sometimes quotes are wordy and need to be simplified by paraphrasing and sometimes quotes are perfectly succinct and need to be left alone)


What is the illegal act of not citing someone else’s ideas or work? (plagiarism)


Why is it so important not to copy, or plagiarize? (that person doesn’t get credit for their great work and the copier doesn’t learn)


What do you have to do before you can paraphrase a quote or passage from text? (understand what the author meant, to some degree)


Can paraphrasing include your own opinion? (it can, but it should be clear what is your belief or opinion and what you are paraphrasing)


What kinds of resources should you use when writing? (many, varied resources to show various opinions and points of view about a subject or topic)


Do you have to cite only one sentence you get from someone else? (YES, even a short phase of a few words too!)


Can you cite a whole paragraph you get from someone else? (You can, if it’s not something you can put in your own words. There are slightly different formatting rules for that.)


If you don’t know how to cite, what can you do? (study examples online, ask an older relative or adult, including a teacher)


Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC