How to Teach Children to Edit Their Own Papers

Think about editing for a moment.

All it involves is going back through something written and looking for two things:

1. Any mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.

2. Any ways to say a sentence or phrase better (as needed or desired). Both of these are much easier to do if the child reads his/her own paper out loud.

Reading it out loud is exactly what works because writing has always been about getting someone else to read your work the WAY you want it read. This best comes about through SOUND! When we read our own writing the way it is written, we can see things to change with much greater ease…it is often obvious. It isn’t a perfect approach, but it helps a great deal…especially as this ‘feedback loop’ aides in hooking up your child’s brain (visual and auditory).

Try this: Before you grade / correct the next writing assignment (even copy work), have them go off by themselves and read the paper out load, making any ‘tweaks’ they want to. I bet you’ll see the mistakes drop and the quality go up! I sometimes find so many mistakes (for that child) that I ask, “Did you read this out loud?” Often they admit they didn’t…so I send them off to really edit. Other times, I just send them off to edit again if it is loaded with mistakes. I don’t want to take their own opportunity to learn to edit away…and I don’t want to waste my time doing their responsibility.

Bless you,

Fred Lybrand

P.S. Yes, I read this out loud!

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