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Lesson Plan

Peer Review: Narrative

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Peer Review: Narrative

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 60 minutes
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



"I liked your story about you and Paul. I think you should add a little more detail and you should change the end two sentences so it will sound better."

Sound familiar? This student response to a peer's draft is all too typical of the way untrained students give feedback on each other's drafts during response groups. The PQP technique—Praise–Question–Polish—requires group members to take a turn reading their drafts aloud as the other students follow along with copies. This oral reading helps the writer to hear the piece in another voice and to identify possible changes independently. The responders then react to the piece by writing specific comments guided by questions on the PQP form, which require specific examples of praiseworthy elements, questions the responders have about the draft, and specific suggestions for improvement.

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In a national survey of 560 otherwise successful teachers of writing and 715 of their students, Sarah W. Freedman (1985) found that many teachers grieved over the use of peer review groups because they had difficulty getting students to respond effectively to one another's writing. Vague comments such as the one at the beginning of this lesson proliferate. The students, too, complained about the writing responses, saying that their peers rarely offered substantial help with their writing. The result is that such vague comments rarely translate into effective revisions, and this is unfortunate because when students receive concrete suggestions for revisions, they do revise with the suggestions in mind (Ziv, 1983).

The organizational technique PQP-Praise-Question-Polish (Neubert, 1986) helps students focus on the task at hand as well as maintain a positive attitude toward the peer-review process.

Further Reading

This lesson was adapted from: Neubert, Gloria A., and Sally J. McNelis. "Peer Response: Teaching Specific Revision Suggestions." English Journal 79.5 (September 1990): 52-56.


Sarah W. Freedman. 1985. The Role of Response in Acquisition of Written Language. Berkeley, CA: California UP.


Nina D. Ziv. "Peer Groups in the Composition Classroom: A Case Study." Conference on College Composition and Communication. (March, 1983): 17-19.


Neubert, Gloria A. and Sally J. McNelis. "Improving Writing in the Disciplines." Educational Leadership 43.7 (1986):54-58.

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