Revision Techniques for Young Writers –
… in no particular order.
1. Ensure that students fully understand the difference between revising and editing.
2. Encourage students to put their work (first draft) aside for a little while. Come back to it with fresh eyes; as though reading it for the very first time.
3. Ask student to read their stories out loud; either to themselves or to a friend. Make sure that they are reading for meaning. What do they notice as they read? Does the story make sense? Is it missing something? Should something be removed? etc.
4. Use strong verbs, i.e. “shouted” – not “said”; “scampered” – not “ran”; “tumbled” – not “fell”.
5. Look for repetitions. Has the same word(s) been used over and other? If so think of another word or grab a thesaurus.
6. Having trouble adding detail & description?
Try these strategies:
a) Talk, talk, talk – Invite students not just to read their work to someone else, but to talk about it, go into detail, see what emerges! Laugh about it! Giggle! Play!
b) Students can close their eyes and picture their work. Ask them to consider their five senses: What do they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell?
c) Students can be encouraged to illustrate their story. Are there things in the pictures that are not included in the written work?
d) Consider adding literary devices. Is the student able to add metaphors, similes, personifications, or alliteration?
e) As the student reads each sentence, see whether he/she can come up with a question, and record it on the first draft either above the sentence with a carrot or in the margin. Then answer the question(s) in the next draft. For example:
S: “My dog is my best friend. She plays with me every morning and every night.”
Q: “My dog is my best friend. (What is her name? What kind of dog is she?) She plays with me every morning and every night.” (What do we play?)
R: “My dog is my best friend. Her name is Sonic and she is an adorable schnoodle. She plays with me every morning and every night. We love to run around in the garden and play fetch.”
7. Discuss trying to use an “active” vs. using a “passive” voice when writing.
8. Model the above strategies for and with your students – and do this a lot.
9. Finally, celebrate students’ efforts and well as their achievements. Celebrate not just the products but the process as well!