Ten tips to help children edit their writing
There is a difference between writing and editing. Writing can be creative and messy and free-flowing. Editing needs to be logical and considered and thoughtful. It’s like switching on a different part of your brain! I hope these ideas help your children to improve their writing. These ideas are written directly to primary school children.
- Give yourself a break from your work. If you can, leave your writing for a day or a few days. You will look at your writing with fresh eyes when you come back to it.
- Expect your first draft to be messy with lots of mistakes! This is ok – now you can fix the mistakes! There could be gaps where you need to go back and fill in some information. Or perhaps you have explained too much or said the same thing in five sentences, which could be cut down to two sentences. There will probably be grammar and punctuation and spelling mistakes. You might have spent too long writing the beginning and run out of room or time to finish the ending properly.
- Fix up the obvious. Fill in those holes, delete the unnecessary sentences, correct the spelling mistakes.
- Read your work aloud to yourself. You will hear if you have left out a word or if your sentences are too long or if you have forgotten to put in a fullstop.
- What else can you add in? Do you need some adjectives or describing words to provide your reader with a clearer picture? Maybe you need to describe the setting or the character a bit more.
- Have a look at the dialogue, where your character is talking to someone else. Have you used the correct punctuation? Will your reader know who is talking? Is it an interesting conversation? Can you add dialogue anywhere else?
- Look at the beginning of your story. Does it introduce your character? Will the reader know where your story is set?
- Look at the ending of your story. Have you solved the problem or explained whether your character met their need – or didn’t meet their need? Will the reader feel satisfied that the story is finished properly?
- Ask a friend or parent to read it. Listen to their suggestions about what would improve your story, and make any changes.
- You’re finished – well done! Give your story to your teacher or send it into a competition or give it to someone to read.