Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Maria Kardick

Collegeville, Pennsylvania


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson helps students understand copyright, fair use, and plagiarism by focusing on why students should avoid plagiarism and exploring strategies that respect copyright and fair use. The lesson includes three parts, each framed by a KWL chart. In the first part, focusing on plagiarism, students discuss plagiarism and look at examples to determine whether the passages are plagiarized. Part two introduces copyright and fair use. Students use a Think-Pair-Share strategy to explore questions about fair use, then read several scenarios and determine if the uses described are fair use. In the third part, students develop paraphrasing skills through direct practice with paraphrasing text book passages using an online notetaking tool.

This lesson plan was developed as part of a collaborative professional project with the American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

back to top



back to top



Students need multiple opportunities to practice citing sources and paraphrasing, to see examples of writing that properly uses paraphrasing and citations, and to reinforce these concepts. When students are taught information about these concepts early in their academic careers they are more likely to find success when the demands for research increase with the sophistication of their work. As their work becomes more sophisticated, students must have an understanding of fair use practices concerning copyright. Giving credit for a source is essential, but there are times when just a citation is not enough. Depending upon what part and how much of the text a writer uses, he or she may need to seek permission to use the material. By discussing and practicing paraphrasing and working through some fair use examples in this lesson, students should gain a better understanding of these concepts.

Further Reading

NCTE Executive Committee, November 2008. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Online: http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/fairusemedialiteracy.

back to top