March 2010 Inspire!
The Writing Process- Editing and Publishing
March 2010 Inspire!
Writing is a process that involves several distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. It is important for a writer to work through each of the steps in order to ensure that he has produced a polished, complete piece. The writing process is not always linear. A writer may move back and forth between steps as needed. For example, while you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.
Last month we learned about the Revision Process. During revision, an author rereads their rough draft with the goal of improving the quality of work. It is often recommended that this reading be done aloud as it can help one to notice potential areas of change. During revision, the writer makes sure that their writing meets the criteria of the assignment and conveys the intended message. An author may strengthen their writing by adding more powerful word choices. He or she may clarify their writing with elaborative details or by rearranging sentences for better flow.The writer may choose to add or delete information as necessary to improve the quality of writing. Revision is a process that even professional writers undertake many times before producing a final product.
Editing is an on-going process, not a one time event. When an author edits his or her work, they are checking the piece for errors. These are typically errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, sentence structure, and formatting (indenting of paragraphs, etc.)
A writer should be encouraged to edit as much of his or her own paper as possible. After an opportunity to self edit, peer editing can also be helpful. Early writers should, with some prompting, be able to check for correct capitalization and punctuation. As a child ages, he or she will be able to correct other errors on their own. Some writers find it beneficial to read their work out loud while editing. This makes it easier to find mistakes. Other writers start at the end and work back from the last sentence. As they read, they make sure each sentence makes sense on its own and is error free. The goal of editing is to create a polished piece of writing that will make the author proud.
Many writers find it helpful to have a checklist for use when editing. Below you will find some suggested checklists. As you work with your student, you may find you need to develop your own list that focuses on your student’s particular needs and concerns.
Download Editing Checklists (PDF):
A student should always review his or her assignment to verify the parameters outlined in the assignment for publishing. Many assignments will specify the preferred font, spacing, and formatting for a final copy.
For handwritten assignments, students should use fresh sheets of paper and a sharpened pencil. To enable a student to do his or her best provide a level writing surface. When recopying a long assignment, allow the student to take a short break to avoid their hand becoming tired and tired to ensure the quality of his or her handwriting throughout the written piece. When copying the final version, have your student center the title and indent paragraphs.
When completing a written piece on a computer, the writer should be sure to consider the nature of the assignment when choosing a font. An inventive poem may lend itself to a fanciful font whereas a research paper would dictate a more traditional font. Encourage your student to double space the composition to allow room for Learning Guides to comment on the work.
Once a student has completed the final draft encourage the student to read the assignment aloud an additional time. This final read through will ensure that the composition was copied correctly and nothing was left out.
The writing process is a fluid process and you may find that your student moves back and forth between steps as necessary to create the final product. Editing may occur multiple times after a student has written an initial draft. Following this process will help to ensure that your student’s finished piece of writing is something of which he or she can be proud.