When you see a math question that feels like a paragraph use stop and start reading method.  Stop and start reading method is when you begin to read each word slowly, word by word.   Stop at the end of a phrase and translate what you just read to yourself and start reading again, picking up from where you left.  Continue this style of stop & start reading until you have read the entire question.  As you read, write equations, draw a diagram, draw a graph, create a table  or any other pictorial representation of your translations.  Write them down.  Don’t just think about it. 

Gather all known information surrounding the topic(s) that the question is asking and write them down.  You will then see more clearly how to plan and solve word problems.