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Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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How to Revise and Edit


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How to Revise and Edit

Grades 6 – 12

Kim Pavlock

South Lyon, Michigan


National Council of Teachers of English

Tip Topic Tips for Teaching Writing
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Why Use This Tip

What To Do


Why Use This Tip

When we're ready to share our writing with others, it is important to take time to re-read what we have written to make sure that our message is clear and our spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization are polished.  The word re-vision means to "look again."  After writing an initial draft, successful writers "look again" at their writing to make sure that they have accomplished what they set out to do.  Once a piece has been revised and major changes have been made, successful writers then edit or polish their writing to make certain that readers won't be confused or distracted by unintentional errors.  Read on to find out where to begin in revising and editing any piece of writing!

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What To Do

We all know the sense of relief we feel when we finish a draft of writing.  Hooray!  It's done!  But is it?  For many of us, students and adults alike, returning to a piece of writing to revise and edit can feel discouraging.  We've already written the piece, so what is there left to do?

Reading through the following questions and suggestions with young people will not only help them reflect on their writing, but also help them become more self-sufficient in the writing process and better writers.

Revising: Reading as a Reader

After setting your piece of writing down for a short time, pick it up again, and reflect on the following questions from the perspective of an interested reader:

  • Is my purpose for writing clear?
  • Have I considered the questions and concerns of my audience?
  • Have I written in the form and style appropriate for this genre of writing? For example, does my book review look and read like a book review?
  • Have I included sufficient examples and supporting details? 

Revising: Reading as a Writer

From the perspective of a skilled writer, consider the following:

  • Does my introduction or lead succeed in grabbing the reader's attention?
  • Does my conclusion successfully bring my writing to a close?
  • Do my paragraphs flow from one to the other well?
  • Have I organized my ideas in a way that makes sense to the reader?

Editing: Reading as an Editor

After revising, try one of these proofreading techniques to polish your writing:

  • Read your writing aloud to catch run-on sentences, over-used words, spelling errors, and typos.
  • Read backwards. Start with the last sentence of your piece and read one sentence at a time from the end to the beginning. By focusing on one sentence at a time, you'll notice ways to improve your writing more easily than reading quickly through your draft from start to finish.
  • Share your writing with a family member or friend.


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