A verbal model is a representation of a math problem in words. A verbal model is the step between translating a verbal phrase in math to a math model.
For example, the following is a verbal phrase: "John went to the store and bought five apples. Each apple cost $1.25. How much did John spend before tax?" To translate it to a verbal model, the problem solver represents the problem in simplified words that represent the cost of the apple times the number of apples bought. To translate it further to a mathematical phrase, the problem solver puts numbers in the problem: "$1.25 times 5."