How To Teach Primary Students Editing Skills

Writing, as most people say, is the most challenging language macro skill.  It is a highly-intellectual skill, even.  I believe that if you are good in writing, you are most likely good in reading, listening, and speaking.  Teaching kids to write and edit would contribute in making them excellent language users as they grow up.

  • Pre-write. Primarily, you would have to expose the children to books, write-ups, and various genres of literature.  Use prewriting to get started.  In prewriting, you generate ideas before working on the first draft of your paper.  With this, the kids can explore ideas and choose what subject to work on and what interests them about a particular topic.  Prewriting does not limit you to all the formalities of writing--it is loose and informal! It can help the children critique their works, or at least it will help guide them as they delve into the whole writing process.

With prewriting, the children are encouraged to write something about their emotions. For example, they could write "Last night, I dream about a monster it is so scary I cried."  As a teacher, your task is to tap on the kids' experiences so they can generate words and ideas.  Furthermore, with prewriting you can easily correct simple grammatical errors.  Highlight the words which need to be modified because of the incorrect tense and the sentence construction.  Explain to the student why you need to write "dreamt" instead of "dream", and why you have to use "was" instead of "is".  Guide the child in writing the revised sentence, as in "Last night, I dreamt about a monster.  It was so scary, I cried!"

  • Write a draft. Once the child has established a topic, then he is ready to write the paragraphs of the first draft.  For the aforementioned sentence, the kid may use that as his topic sentence or main idea.  From there, advise him to write supporting details.  What did the monster look like?  How scary was it?  In writing the draft, there must be an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

The child may use the description or the narration method as his pattern of development.  You could ask the child to narrate his dream, or focus on the monster's features only.  Suppose the child has learned about synonyms and pronouns, encourage him to use these instead of repeating words over and over.  When you give him cues, he will immediately get back on track.  Eventually, the writing and editing process will come to him naturally.

  • Use a word processor. In case the child is knowledgeable in using the word processor, he may learn how to edit his draft by checking for some highlighted words, which indicate words that are misspelled or sentences that are wrongly constructed. He may also read the draft aloud.  This is helpful since he may find sentences which sound awkward.  If the pupil picks up problems, then he is ready to revise the sentence.

After the revision, help the child edit and proofread.  This is actually close to getting the paper done.  Proofreading means checking the final draft for any typographical errors or other mistakes.  A trick is to read the material backwards, as the kid will tend to focus on the individual words rather than get caught up in the flow of ideas.  Teach him some proofreaders' marks, like the caret (^) to insert a missing letter or word, or a curved line (it looks like an inverted S) to denote a reverse in the order of words.

Editing is fun and productive.  Once you get the hang of it, it won't be as hard as you think it is.  The good thing about it is that you'll use this skill for life!  Primary school kids learning how to write, edit and proofread are indeed smart, young achievers.


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