Saturday, April 27, 2013


Revising and editing are sometimes confused. Revising deals with content and includes changing the order of paragraphs, rewording sentences, reworking the introduction, developing the body, scrapping and rewriting the conclusion, omitting unnecessary words, improving diction, varying sentence structure, combining sentences, eliminating redundancies....

It is in revision that a student's writing develops and matures. Don't skip it!

Set it aside.
Let students know that, after writing a piece or part of a piece, they can temporarily leave it.  When they pick it up again, they will not be as attached to it.  Since attachment is what keeps us from seeing our pieces clearly and making the necessary changes, separation is our friend.   How long should the separation last?  It depends on the time frame. They can leave it for a few hours, overnight, or several days, coming back to it and revising with fresh brain and eyes. (Watch out for procrastinators, though. The piece can't be left indefinitely. : )

Read it aloud.
When students read the words aloud for their ears to hear, they will likely notice the awkward sentences, the repeated words, the places that don't flow. They can make the changes as they find the problems.

Use Post-It Notes.
Students can assess the progress of their paper as they look at five traits: idea development, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency. You can find templates and an explanation here.

Ask for help.
Let them give their draft to someone else for questions and comments, someone who will be honest but gentle.

Remember that revising can happen simultaneously with pre-writing and drafting. As we think about what we want to write, we make decisions about this word vs. that word, this thought vs. that thought, this sentence structure vs. that sentence structure.

Hire a mentor.
Pick me. Pick me. : )  You can find out more here.

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