Editing tools for young writers

by | Feb 2, 2012 | Editing & Revising

Editing tools for young writers - Help them acquire self-editing skills and grow to see editing as a natural part of the writing process.

“Editing is usually painless [now]. The way WriteShop Junior has taught them to edit is awesome. They’re not afraid to look for errors.” –Kelley, SD

Learning to self-edit doesn’t have to be a dreaded or intimidating experience.

Through the use of fun tools, children can acquire helpful editing skills—and in doing so, grow to see editing as a natural part of the writing process. Self-editing becomes a task they can accomplish with both pleasure and success!

Editing tools for young writers help them acquire important self-editing skills and grow to see editing as a natural part of the writing process.

Assembling an Editor’s Tool Kit

To help them gain stronger self-editing skills, prepare a kit of special editing tools for young writers. In WriteShop Junior, we call this their Said It, Read It, Edit Bag™ (“Read It” is pronounced “red it.”)

For storage, you’ll need a zipper pouch, small tote bag, plastic zip-top bag, or other container to keep all the editing tools in one place. Label it as your Said It, Read It, Edit Bag™ and keep it in your writing center so it’s always handy. Here’s a list of supplies to include in their bags.

  • Correction tape
  • Highlighters in assorted colors
  • Colored pencils
  • Sheets of tiny stickers such as smiley faces and stars
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus

Disclosure:  The thesaurus is an affiliate link. I can’t say enough good {delightful, positive, enthusiastic} things about The Synonym Finder. I should be their poster girl!

Some children may want to wear a special hat or visor and refer to it as their Editor’s Hat. If so, they should use their hat for this unique purpose and store it with the supply of editing tools.

“It’s so fun to watch Gracie edit… She ALWAYS wears a jazzy black editor’s hat.” –Joanie, NJ

Tracking Tools

With a younger student (perhaps 7 to 9 years old), tracking each word on the paper will help him slow down and examine his work more carefully during the editing process. There are a variety of ways to do this, from pointing at each word with his pointer finger to touching each word with the eraser end of his pencil.

If your child wants to track words with his pointer finger, he could wear a finger puppet on that finger. You could also purchase a set of plastic toy fingers from a party supply store or costume shop and let him wear one as he tracks each word on his Writing Project. Alternatively, he could gather several colorful or distinctive plastic rings to wear while editing.

Using a pointer item is completely optional! One child may look down on such props while another sees them as great fun—so gather items to wear on a pointer finger according to your child’s interest and store them in the Said It, Read It, Edit Bag™.

Having a special tool kit is the first step in becoming a successful editor. Here are more ideas for using the Said It, Read It, Edit Bag™ to edit a writing assignment.

Copyright 2012 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

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WriteShop encourages students to self-edit and revise in order to create a published final draft. The Said It, Read It, Edit Bag™, and many more exciting editing ideas, come straight from the pages of WriteShop Junior.

Photo: Simon Cocks, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Editing tools for young writers help children acquire important self-editing skills and grow to see editing as a natural part of the writing process.


  1. Lisa McNeilley

    I have read several of your posts concerning writing skills. After teaching writing at the college level for over 15 years, I must say that I share your concerns. Writing is difficult to teach, which is why a lot of teachers focus solely on grammar–it’s easy to note and measure. Of even more concern are the problems students have with organizing logically, developing ideas fully, providing evidence, and considering issues on a deeper level reflecting critical thinking skills. My website offers some free resources for students and teachers/parents to address these issues: http://www.thewritersalley.com.

  2. Adrienne

    I love the idea of the edit pack! Great idea!

  3. Janet

    Love the Said It, Read It, Edit Bag idea, Kim! Also love the thought of wearing a special editor’s hat! Makes me wonder: as an adult, what playful hat would I choose? Maybe a beret…

    • Kim

      I love that, Janet! Now you have me thinking about the kind of editor’s hat I would wear…


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