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7 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Edit and Revise Their Sentences

In my last blog we talked about encouraging free writing. Now, I want to talk to you about some parent friendly tips to revise and edit for school assignments and free-writing.

We're nourishing creativity, now let's encourage critical thinking and reinforce grammar rules/spelling.

1. Mistakes are Opportunities

Create a space that celebrates a growth mindset, recognizes that errors are normal, and provides opportunities to learn and grow. Instill in your student/child that mistakes are not bad- they are opportunities for growth.

2. Don’t Edit Too Soon

If your student/child is compelled to ask you a grammar or spelling question in the middle of their writing, it may disrupt the quality and flow of their creative process and thus influence the final product. Encourage them to write without switching tasks and revise after the full thought has been documented (i.e., freewriting time first – revision second).

3. Give Resources

When it comes to editing, there are SO many things to look for and SO many rules too remember. I struggle with it. If it’s hard for me, someone who has been writing for 35ish years, of course it will be hard for a child who just learned to write their letters three years ago.

We can help our writers to be more successful with editing by giving them resources and modeling how to use these resources. Here are a few of good resources:

4. One Type of Edit at a Time

There is a lot of new information being digested by students at any given time. Make sure that the task at hand is not overwhelming by asking them to correct one facet of grammar/spelling at the time.

Use these acronyms to break up types of editing (and perhaps tackle one type per day/session):

COPS - (more accessible for kids) capitals, overall, appearance, punctuation, spelling

ARMS - (editing) add, remove, move, substitute

5. Read Writing Out Loud

In my opinion, reading one’s writing out loud in the best way to identify mistakes. For younger students, you can make this fun by having them read to their favorite stuffed animals or action figures as their “audience”.

Make sure there is a pen nearby so that the student can indicate where they recognize mistakes while reading.

6. Don’t Edit for Them

It can be discouraging to see multiple corrections on a paper you were proud of and can instill the feeling that they are a “bad writer”. This is never the goals. Editing the paper for them does not make the student a better writer, it only makes that singular piece of writing better. Whether they learn from the corrections varies from student to student.

The more effective way to help a student with their editing is to choose 2-3 commonly misspelled words or grammar mistakes that the writer has made and not caught themselves correct it once and ask them to identify the same mistake as it appears throughout their writing. This is much more manageable and helps them remember the concept.

7. Remember, perfection Isn’t the Goal.

Encouraging students to be lifelong learners who can identify and overcome their mistakes autonomously is the goal!

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