Editing and Revising
As if it isn’t hard enough to teach students to write, we also have to teach them to want to fix their writing. There’s a huge emphasis on “want to” because most kids aren’t fans of writing, much less having to go back into their writing in order to make it sound AND look good.
Once you’ve got your routine down, and your students know how to execute their writing piece, you will need to model for them about how to go back into their writing in order to make it a much better writing piece.
It’s important to spend some time explaining the difference between editing and revising.
In editing, students make their writing look better by correcting punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. In most cases, this seems easier for them to do.
Revising is tougher to teach because this is when an author makes their writing sound better and clarify their effect on the reader. This can include adding more descriptive language, appropriate transitions, taking out writing that doesn’t add to the focus of the piece, or possibly moving sentences around.
This. Is. Hard.
When first introducing revising, I always take a classic book. Pick any book that you know they will really enjoy. Back when I taught second grade, I used Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.
To be honest, you can use this book for so many other writing skills, but revising was my favorite. I’d take the sentences in the first few pages and take out all the descriptive words; all the language that makes it a great book. I’d read the “book” with my boring sentences and I’d ask how they liked the story so far.
Most will say they like it and that’s because they don’t know better. I’d make up an excuse to not read the rest, and we’d move on to something else. The next day, I’d gather them again, and read the real Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse. Then I’d ask them which version they liked better.
Obviously, now they like the real version better. We discuss specific examples of sentences that they loved. What words did the author use to help up visualize different details? We compared the boring sentences in the first version versus the ones in the new book. We also discussed how authors, the very same authors that write their favorite picture and chapter books, have to go back and reread their writing in order to edit and revise.
Those books are NEVER the first draft they wrote. (I never share that famous authors sometimes pay someone else to do a lot of their editing and revising. :))
Sometimes when students write a writing piece, they don’t make the connection that they are the authors of that piece. If they want their reader to enjoy it, they need improve it.
I’ve found it easier to give students a checklist of things to look for when editing and revising their writing and having them do it in partners. With enough practice and guidance, they will get better at doing this. Writing conferences with students to discuss the process is also extremely helpful to them.
I’ve gathered many editing and revising lesson ideas, tips, and tools for you on Pinterest. Head on over to my blog for an interactive way I helped my students with editing and revising while focusing on writing test prep. There you will find two weeks of free lessons using this interactive activity!
P.S. Did you grab the Freebie from the blog post above and love it? Then you’ll also love my other interactive paragraphs. Hands On Revision and Editing:Winter, Hand On Narrative Revision and Editing Paragraph a Week, or Hands On Expository Revision and Editing Paragraph a Week.