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How To Teach Students To Self-Edit Their Writing

teaching students to self-edit their writing

Students who learn to write for communicating a meaning at first may not be aware of what editing is, so the teacher should take the time to explain the process of editing to them telling that the piece of writing doesn’t have to be perfect from the start and that it is possible for all writers to make changes to their work. 

Teachers should start by allowing students to self-correct by doing the following:

  • Encouraging students to read their work out loud and then asking them if they feel comfortable with their writing or if they feel it is missing anything.
  • Asking them if they think there are any words that are spelled incorrectly.

While encouraging students to self-correct, teachers should consider the following:

  • Focusing first on ideas generated, then moving on to the clarity of these ideas and end with accuracy.
  • Too many corrections may be enough to discourage the student, so first concentrate on getting clear ideas, regardless of the form and spelling. Once the student has gained confidence in this area, a move to the next step in editing should be done.
  • Supporting students in making corrections by teaching them how to use the dictionary and/or spell check.
  • Distributing or hanging an editing checklist on the wall in front of students encouraging them to look at it frequently when doing their self-correction.

Here is an example of an editing checklist for students to use:

1. Mechanics

  • The first word in every sentence is capitalized.
  • All proper nouns are capitalized.
  • Each sentence written ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
  • All words are spelled correctly.
  • The beginning of each new paragraph is indented.

2. Grammar

  • Each sentence is a complete thought with a subject and a verb.
  • There are no run-on sentences.
  • Subjects and verbs agree in number.
  • When pronouns are used, they clearly refer to someone or a thing.
  • Verb tenses are used consistently unless a change is required.

3. Style

  • The sentence length is varied.
  • Clear, interesting, colourful, and precise words are used.
  • Unnecessary words were cut out.

And, here is a suggested rubric for teachers to base the assessment of their students’ writing on:

Download it for FREE HERE

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