Put a positive spin on editing
A quick peek at the blog’s Editing & Revising category will show that I talk about editing quite a bit here. It’s a big deal for so many homeschoolers—and is often the very thing that puts a damper on an otherwise decent day or week of writing.
I’m always on the hunt for a fresh idea to share that will make editing and revising even a teensy bit easier for you and your kiddos. The whole ordeal can leave an unpleasant taste in many a mouth, so today, let’s look at ways to make the editing process more positive.
Start Them Young
I love to see parents begin to teach self-editing skills during the elementary years—before anxiety, fear, and self-deprecation begin to overtake their children. While they’re still young, introducing them to simple ideas can actually make self-editing fun!
- For example, you can absolutely revolutionize self-editing with one little trick: Make a photocopy of your child’s original writing project and let her self-edit the copy. This allows her to preserve the original, which many children are quite reluctant to mark up.
- Encourage children to identify a difficult word they spelled correctly or a sentence that has no errors. They love hunting for things they did well, rather than only focusing on mistakes.
- Another suggestion: Provide them with their own set of supplies such as highlighter markers, colored pencils, and tiny stickers. Armed with their personal editing tools, children can sit down with a real sense of purpose to find those errors and highlight positive efforts. Editing can become a joy instead of a dreaded chore.
“My son feels very professional having a tool kit for this specific job.” -Karen, WA
A Second Pair of Eyes
But don’t stop at self-editing. Every paper benefits from another look, so once your child is finished self-editing his work, take time to edit it yourself.
- Keep suggestions to a minimum.
- Don’t try to find every error.
- At this age, there’s no need to ravage your child’s paper with a red pen. When you do spot something that needs attention, try not to cross out or erase. Instead, simply print the correct word or punctuation mark directly above the old one.
When finished, give your child the opportunity to rewrite his composition on fresh paper, should he so choose.
Positive, Encouraging Feedback
It’s not always easy to edit a child’s writing attempts. We’re naturally inclined to point out all the mistakes, roll our eyes, sigh deeply in exasperation, or even become angry. Clearly, that’s not the best approach when dealing with a tender-hearted nine-year-old.
So before a negative word rolls off your tongue, affirm your developing writer by searching for things you can praise.
Next time you look over your child’s paper, why not try making a few of these positive and encouraging comments?
- You’re off to a great start!
- I love your ideas.
- You are so creative.
- What a descriptive story!
- You shared some interesting facts.
- Wow! You remembered all your capitalization rules.
- Thank you for trying so hard.
- I can see that you’ve put a lot of thought into your story.
- Great word choices! My favorites are “powdery” and “fluffy.”
- I like your title. It gives me a good clue about your story.
- This is my favorite sentence. It’s so descriptive!
- Fantastic! Look how your punctuation has improved.
- You are becoming a great writer.
More Ideas: Editing Skills for Kids and Parents
- Editing and Evaluating Writing: K-3rd Grade
- Editing and Evaluating Writing: 4th-6th Grade
- The Trick to Finding the Balance
- Put Some Fun into Editing (or A Cat’s Guide to Editing)