Revision strategies for essays

Revising — well, that was the trickiest thing for me to figure out when I started teaching writing. The problem with getting students to revise effectively usually springs from one of two issues with your directions:.

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Here are my top 5 tips for helping students effectively revise their persuasive writing essays note: much of this can be applied to other types of writing as well.

For me, organization is 1. If you feel strongly that more is needed, break it up over several days so that students are revising their drafts each day with just focus areas. These may be whole-class see tip 3 or individualized see tip 4. Always have students mark where they have made a change based on the required revision to keep them accountable and to make it easy for you to check it has been completed.

For time and practicality, it makes sense to issue some whole-class focus areas for revising. Here are some whole-class revising steps to try remember, choose just on any given day :. Providing individualized feedback is important too, of course.

revision strategies for essays

Your rubric should be organized based on your hierarchy. Take some time to discuss the rubrics with your students so they understand the rubrics were created in order of importance. This allows you to quickly help students understand what will give them their biggest bang for their buck with revising. They give you a great base to start with and you can tweak the options to your liking, based on a holistic approach, or individualized for specific students. For example, I have a holistic persuasive writing rubric I created in Rubistar ordered with my hierarchy in mind and using my terminology.

I use it to grade essays, and I also give it to students ahead of time for revising activities. For me, organization and content are king! In that case, you may need to create a flipped hierarchy for some students.

In addition, I create some rubrics for specific revising days. This makes it easy to narrow focus in whole-class and small-group revising lessons. The experience is helpful for reluctant and struggling writers.

This might mean not every student is reading a paper in each round. Take care that no student misses more than one round. It might be too much to grade a full rubric for your students.

Switching with a partner takes away that little gift your brain gives you by auto-correcting your mistakes! Facebook Instagram Pinterest YouTube. Some will know how to use that time effectively, but many will flounder, unsure of what they can do to make their writing better.

Care is taken to swap about bland words with better options e. Tip 3: Choose a Whole-Class Focus For time and practicality, it makes sense to issue some whole-class focus areas for revising.

Here are some whole-class revising steps to try remember, choose just on any given day : Check your opening paragraph: Underline the hook. Draw an arrow by your transition to thesis statement.

Circle your thesis statement. Put a star by where you stated your position. Check your closing paragraph: Underline the connection to the hook. Circle your re-stated thesis.When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. Proofreading is primarily about searching your writing for errors, both grammatical and typographical, before submitting your paper for an audience a teacher, a publisher, etc.

Use this resource to help you find and fix common errors. When you have plenty of time to revise, use the time to work on your paper and to take breaks from writing. If you can forget about your draft for a day or two, you may return to it with a fresh outlook.

During the revising process, put your writing aside at least twice—once during the first part of the process, when you are reorganizing your work, and once during the second part, when you are polishing and paying attention to details.

Use the following questions to evaluate your drafts. You can use your responses to revise your papers by reorganizing them to make your best points stand out, by adding needed information, by eliminating irrelevant information, and by clarifying sections or sentences.

Revising the Draft

What are you trying to say in the paper? In other words, try to summarize your thesis, or main point, and the evidence you are using to support that point. Try to imagine that this paper belongs to someone else. Does the paper have a clear thesis? Do you know what the paper is going to be about?

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What are you trying to do in the paper? In other words, are you trying to argue with the reading, to analyze the reading, to evaluate the reading, to apply the reading to another situation, or to accomplish another goal? Does the body of your paper support your thesis? Do you offer enough evidence to support your claim? If you are using quotations from the text as evidence, did you cite them properly?

Do all of the ideas relate back to the thesis? Is there anything that doesn't seem to fit? If so, you either need to change your thesis to reflect the idea or cut the idea.

Do all of the ideas in the paper make sense? Are there unclear or confusing ideas or sentences? Read your paper out loud and listen for awkward pauses and unclear ideas. Cut out extra words, vagueness, and misused words. Visit the Purdue OWL's vidcast on cutting during the revision phase for more help with this task. Do you see any problems with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? If you think something is wrong, you should make a note of it, even if you don't know how to fix it.

You can always talk to a Writing Lab tutor about how to correct errors. Try to detach yourself from what you've written; pretend that you are reviewing someone else's work. What would you say is the most successful part of your paper? How could this part be made even better? What would you say is the least successful part of your paper?As January hits and the new year begins, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make ourselves and our lives better.

As you and your students make resolutions, this might be the perfect time to talk to your students about the process of making their writing better: revision. As a teacher, you may feel disappointed when students turn in a final draft of a paper that looks remarkably similar to the first draft. However, before assuming that students are lazy or unmotivated, we should consider the possibility that students and teachers have different ideas of what revision entails. Students gave the following impressions of revision:.

I go over and change words around. It is looking at something and saying, no that has to go, or no, that is not right. In contrast, professional writers described their process of revision this way:. It is striking to consider the focuses of these two sets of responses; the students considered tinkering with vocabulary to be revision, whereas the writers defined revision as large-scale adjustments to argumentation and organization. How can you teach your students to approach revision more like professional writers?

The first step is clearly delineating the difference between revision, editing, and proofreading.

revision strategies for essays

Feel free to share the definitions and explanations of each process below to begin that conversation with your students. Revision is, at its core, a process of reflection. As part of that reflection, a writer might ask themselves the following questions:. As students will likely point out, these are all significant changes to make. It follows, then, that revision is the very first part of the process, then editing, and finally proofreading.

Although all these steps are important to do and teachthe order should not be reversed. Some of the questions that writers can consider as a part of editing include:. Part of the reason why editing is important to do after revision is that sometimes large-scale improvements can cause problems on a smaller scale. For example, if you bring material from the conclusion to the introduction, it may be necessary to then alter the transition from the final body paragraph to the conclusion.

Smoothing that transition would be editing, rather than revising or proofreading. While revision and editing are about making the paper work better and thus are best tackled with a growth mindsetproofreading is a rare place where focusing on deficiency is the goal. Proofreading largely consists of correcting errors and mistakes. While most of proofreading entails searching for grammatical errors such as issues with subject-verb agreement, verb tense, punctuation, and commonly confused wordsproofreading can also include fixing spelling mistakes, typos, and citation errors.

Checking to make sure that the paper is headed correctly and the pages are numbered according to the given style format can also be part of this last read-through. As your students will be relieved to hear, whether they can identify every single change they make as they write is of little consequence.

However, describing each process distinctly to your students up front can make a significant difference in how they approach revision. As evidenced by the quotes from students and professional writers at the beginning of this section, it is most important that students do not confuse proofreading with revision and that they engage in all three processes as they write. Out of the three processes we just covered, students most need to be persuaded of the value of revision.

After all, it is far easier to turn on spell check and add a few commas than it is to rigorously examine the coherence of an argument throughout an entire paper. However, while students might be initially resistant to the concept of revision, there are a few ways to get them more open to and even excited about the process.

5 Tips for Revising Persuasive Writing

The most obvious reason for students to value revision is that it can produce higher grades. Although it is generally better to encourage intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation, realistically, discussing grades is a surefire way to get students listening.

In addition to expressing this sentiment to your students, you can show that you value revision and encourage students to do the same through your classroom policies. One guide to revision suggests implementing a policy that students who make a significant revision will never be penalized by a lower grade, even if their revision is unsuccessful.

Grades can have the unintended side effect of making students too hesitant to take intellectual risks—this kind of policy gives students the freedom to revise without fear. More specifically, Wormeli warns against the following common policies:.When you revise and are spending time thinking about how well your content works in your essay, there are some strategies to keep in mind that can help.

First and foremost, during the revision process, you should seek outside feedback. This can help you better understand the opposing view and can help you see where you may need to strengthen your argument. Finally, in addition to the outside feedback, there are some revision strategies that you can engage in on your own.

Read your essay carefully and think about the lessons you have learned about logic, fallacies, and audience. A post draft outline can also help you during the revision process. A post draft outline can help you quickly see where you went with your essay and can help you more easily see if you need to make broad changes to content or to organizations.

For more information on creating a post draft outline, you can view the video below. Be sure the volume is turned up on your computer! Please give us your feedback! Forgot your password? Lost your password?

Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password. Revision Strategies When you revise and are spending time thinking about how well your content works in your essay, there are some strategies to keep in mind that can help.

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Select a Role Educator Learner. Create account.Revising is a way to learn about the craft of writing. Phyllis Whitney famously wrote, "Good stories are not written. They are rewritten. Revision skills complement reading skills; revision requires that writers distance themselves from the writing and critically evaluate a text.

Research on revision and the quality of writing shows that strategy instruction is very powerful. When using strategy instruction, teachers should do the following:. One way to make the criteria very specific is to focus on genre. For example, when teaching narratives, develop a simple checklist that aligns with good narrative writing.

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For example, ask students "Are all the story elements included? Are the characters clearly described? Does your story show how characters feel? Another approach focuses not on genre, but rather overall qualities such as clarity and detail.

For example, "Is there anything that is difficult to understand? Peer editing is a very successful way to help students develop revision skills. This is particularly true when the peer groups have explicit goals for the revision. For example, find one place in the writing where the message is unclear, or one place where a different vocabulary word could be used. Many teachers use checklists and mnemonic devices to help students revise their writing.

Here are a few examples:. It's important to help students focus on more than sentence-level revisions. Their revision checklist includes items such as:. Although it's rarely considered this way, revisions include any changes a writer makes to a draft, including decisions made both before the writing begins and as drafting is taking place.

Strategies that engage students before writing begins — for example RAFT and the story sequence strategy — can help students develop a strong first draft. These steps for revision can be used across content areas. The types of writing that could take place include writing the steps to a word problem mathreporting results from an experiment scienceand summarizing an important historical event or figure social studies.

Aid students in understanding the various interacting stages of the writing process, including revising, and provide students with a strategy for adding detail to their writing.

See the lesson plan. This video is published with permission from the Balanced Literacy Diet. See related how-to videos with lesson plans in the Writing Processes and Strategies section. Charts and checklists help students self-assess.Revising your essay is a multi-faceted process.

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Often, students confuse revising with proofreading. Although looking for errors is part of the revision process, revising also involves checking the paper for organization, revising the writing style for clarity, and making sure that the essay is appropriate for the audience. Every author has their own preferred method for revising their work; however, a few methods of revision are more successful than others. When you are immersed in the writing process, it can be difficult to find grammatical errors, problems with organization, or other faults in your work.

As a result, many authors find it beneficial to avoid revising as they are writing and instead to write the entire rough draft and to set it aside for two or three days. When you revisit the paper, you will have created distance between yourself and the essay, allowing you to critically evaluate your writing and enabling you to find and correct errors more easily.

Composition instructors often incorporate the use of peer critiques as part of the revision process. Your colleagues can often identify and correct errors in your writing or problems with your logic or organization more quickly than you can. In addition, professional writers and workers who write as part of their job often have a peer read over their work before they submit it. As a result, peer critiques foster good work habits. Another strategy for revising is to move from general, or large-scale issues, to smaller issues.

This method of revision goes over the essay in several passes. First, for example, you might read the paper to critique your strategy toward the audience.

Revision Strategies

Then, you might evaluate the organization of your paper. Third, look at the use of sources. Fourth, revise each sentence for clarity. Finally, read the paper carefully to look for errors in grammar and syntax. This general to specific strategy can save time because you are addressing the largest issues first.

There is no point finding and correcting all of the grammatical errors if you have to rewrite the entire paper because of problems with the strategy toward the audience. Another proven strategy for revising an essay is to read the entire paper out loud to yourself.

Tips for Revising Writing

Work slowly, reading the paper sentence by sentence. This strategy often helps writers who have problems with grammatical errors and awkward phrasing because the ear can sometimes catch these errors more quickly than the eye. In addition, reading out loud forces you to slow down and consider each sentence.Rewriting is the essence of writing well—where the game is won or lost.

This handout will motivate you to revise your drafts and give you strategies to revise effectively. It is an ongoing process of rethinking the paper: reconsidering your arguments, reviewing your evidence, refining your purpose, reorganizing your presentation, reviving stale prose.

For more information on the subject, see our handout on proofreading. So revision is a chance for you to look critically at what you have written to see:. Here are several things to do. Instead, focus on two or three main areas during each revision session:. You may want to start working on your next paper early so that you have plenty of time for revising.

Sometimes it means coming up with stronger arguments to defend your position, or coming up with more vivid examples to illustrate your points.

revision strategies for essays

Sometimes it means shifting the order of your paper to help the reader follow your argument, or to change the emphasis of your points. Sometimes it means adding or deleting material for balance or emphasis.

And then, sadly, sometimes revision does mean trashing your first draft and starting from scratch. Better that than having the teacher trash your final paper. As writers, we often produce lots of material that needs to be tossed. The idea or metaphor or paragraph that I think is most wonderful and brilliant is often the very thing that confuses my reader or ruins the tone of my piece or interrupts the flow of my argument.

Writers must be willing to sacrifice their favorite bits of writing for the good of the piece as a whole. In order to trim things down, though, you first have to have plenty of material on the page. One trick is not to hinder yourself while you are composing the first draft because the more you produce, the more you will have to work with when cutting time comes. Sometimes you write something and then tinker with it before moving on.

But be warned: there are two potential problems with revising as you go.