Saturday, January 11, 2020

Why Kids Don't Revise...and What to Do About It *Free download!

If your kids struggle with revision, they are not alone. This post explains three tips you can use to help your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students understand and actually revise their own writing! A free  download for writer's workshop folders will help your kids understand the writing process, and there's even a free revising checklist! Get started today with this download and step-by-step video instructions!
When your kids revise a piece of writing, what do they do?
 
Do they cross out a few words and replace them with different ones?
 
Do they erase a few words and write them more neatly?

Do they add a period, or maybe even... dare I say it ...an exclamation mark?!

Basically, do they actually have any idea of what they're doing?

They might not. So many times, teaching revision is overwhelming for teachers and it is very unclear to kids. They really have no idea what we want them to do.

If these are your kids, you're in luck. Read on for three things you can do to help them actually revise their writing. Here we go. 

#1. Teach the difference between revision and editing. They're not playing dumb. They honestly don't know. If we've never differentiated between revision and editing for our kids, how would they know the difference? Lots of adults don't know the difference, so it's not exactly intuitive.

Here is an easy way to differentiate between revision and editing.
Revision: making changes that affect the meaning and how the writing affects the reader (basically, revision = improvements, meaning, reader)
Editing: making corrections that help the writing follow the rules (basically, editing = correcting, rules)

I include a sorting activity in the Writer's Workshop Toolkit for grades 3-5 that helps kids distinguish between revising and editing!
 
If your kids struggle with revision, they are not alone. This post explains three tips you can use to help your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students understand and actually revise their own writing! A free  download for writer's workshop folders will help your kids understand the writing process, and there's even a free revising checklist! Get started today with this download and step-by-step video instructions!

When you have kids write their own pieces, make the writing process visible and kinesthetic.
I use Writing Process Folders to help kids remember what stage of the writing process they're on.
You can get the directions and printables for this at the bottom of this page for free!

If your kids struggle with revision, they are not alone. This post explains three tips you can use to help your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students understand and actually revise their own writing! A free  download for writer's workshop folders will help your kids understand the writing process, and there's even a free revising checklist! Get started today with this download and step-by-step video instructions!

#2. Model it and use the language.
When you write, you have to model EVERYTHING you want kids to do. That includes revision. If you want kids to revise their writing by adding in details, add in details to your writing. If you want kids to revise their writing by substituting words or ideas, substitute words or ideas in your writing. If you want kids to revise their writing by taking out irrelevant details, take irrelevant details out of your writing.

If the only kinds of revision we've showed kids is how to substitute a general word for a specific word, guess what: that's the only kind of revision they know how to do!

The best model of revision that I found is from Kelly Gallagher. In his book Teaching Adolescent Writers, he talks about four things to do when you revise (this works for little people, too). *affiliate link

Substitute (words, sentences, ideas)
Take out (words, sentences, ideas)
Add in (words, sentences, ideas)
Rearrange (words, sentences, ideas)

Isn't that the best? STAR revision always helped my kids (and it helped me, too).

#3. Tell them what you want.
When we ask kids for too much, they can get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Instead, simplify the process!
  1. Choose a few things you want kids to do when they revise.
  2. Put them on a checklist.
  3. Model using it when you revise.
  4. Make them use it when they revise.
Here's a sample of how I did this with the "Find a Place" strategy from my Narrative Writing Intervention Toolkit. It's lesson #46 out of 72 intervention lessons!


Ready for more?

This is even better than an anchor chart. Help your kids brainstorm ideas during prewriting with this easy to use (and fun) activity! It's a strategy that works every time for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students, and it will help your kids generate ideas for their personal narratives so they can move forward in the writing process! Get kids unstuck with this strategy! A how-to video helps get you started!

Want the Find a Place checklist? Get it at the here (along with some other tools for helping you teach the writing process! In this free download, you'll get...
  • The Framework of Writer's Workshop
  • Components of Writer's Workshop
  • Minilesson Planner
  • Steps in the Writing Process
  • Guide: Guiding Students Through the Writing Process
  • Think Aloud Sentence Starters
  • Writing Process Folders: directions & printables
  • Conference Log 
  • Personal Editing Checklist
  • Revision Strategy Card: Find a Place
 

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