Teaching editing and revising is a must do in the classroom. After completing a writing piece it is essential to allow the students to edit and revise their rough drafts. The use of the rough draft is for students to be creative, not technical. Teaching them then how to edit and revise will allow their work to not only be creative but follow technical writing procedures as well.
This post is part of a writing series on teaching writing to upper elementary students. Read about more aspects of teaching writing here!
How To Teach Editing
Teaching students to edit and revise is a long process. It is something that you will visit every single writing unit you do for the entire year.
When teaching editing use these ideas…
- This video is a great introduction to editing writing.
- Put a sample writing piece on the board and walk through editing that writing piece to make it better.
- Give a sample to each student with lots of mistakes. Have them edit it and then as a class go through and see if they missed anything.
How To Teach Revising
Making sure the students know the difference between editing and revising is also essential. I suggest teaching editing first because that is an easier concept to understand. Editing is looking at things like sentence structure, capitalization, etc. Revising is looking at helping the writer strengthen their ideas and thoughts.
When teaching revising use these ideas…
- This video is a great introduction to revising writing.
- Read a mentor text and generate ideas on how the writer could have made it a stronger book.
- Give students a sample and have them use the revising checklist to write ideas on.
- Have students read each other’s writing and offer one suggestion and give two compliments. Working on giving strong compliments with examples is a great way to teach revising.
- In the freebie below, there is an editing and revising anchor chart that you can hang up in your classroom so that students can refer to it when working on editing and revising all year long.
Teaching Editing and Revising with Peers
One of the main ways to use editing and revising is with the other students in your classroom. After writing, pair two students together and have them edit each other’s work. Then, have children switch peers and revise someone else’s work. This is a great way to teach students the skills of editing and revising and it allows them to read each other’s work, strengthening their own work in the process.
Teaching Editing and Revising with the Teacher
Each writing unit, while everyone is editing and revising with peers, pick 2-3 students that you will edit and revise with. You don’t want to edit and revise every single piece of writing for every student, they need to learn this skill on their own. But doing it with a few students each writing unit is a great way to model how to edit and revise and do mini-lessons on specific aspects of their writing.
To do this, bring the student into the small group and first just have them read their writing to you. Then ask, “What suggestions do you have for yourself?” Giving them the opportunity to generate the editing and revising on their own.
Lastly, go through the checklist mentioned below to walk your students through the editing and revising process of their own writing.
The Use of Checklists
An editing and revising checklist can make this process SO easy. All the students need to do is go through each thing on the checklist and look for it in their writing or the writing of another student.
Here are some items that you can put on an editing checklist.
- Are all sentences complete? If not, make a note to the author.
- Does each sentence and proper noun have a capital? If not, underline where there should be a capital three times.
- Does each sentence have correct punctuation? If not, circle where it should be.
- Circle any word that does not look like it is spelled right. The author will need to correct it.
- Is the handwriting easy to read? If not, make a note at the top.
Here are some items that you can put on a revising checklist.
- Does the paragraph have a topic sentence that tells you what their writing is about? If not, make a note.
- Does the paragraph have at least three reasons? If not, write a note.
- Does the paragraph have a closing sentence that flows with the writing? If not, write a note.
- Write 1-2 things you like about the story.
- Make one suggestion to make their writing better.
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