Ten Editing Tips For Students

Many people believe that it’s notoriously difficult to write in English because the language has borrowed words from nearly every other language. There are numerous homonyms that is, words that sound the same but are spelled differently (e.g. there and their) and when it comes to spelling, it sometimes seems there are more exceptions than rules.

Even teachers make mistakes. (Did you catch our error in our last article?) So proofreading and careful review are important. 10 tips to help your student learn to edit:

1. Write first, then get it right. Encourage students to write all of their ideas down before they pay attention to grammar and spelling. Although proper writing is very important, focusing on it too much at the beginning can hamper the flow of ideas. First drafts should be all about content and then the second draft can emphasize organization and flow. Finally, the focus of the third draft should be mechanics.

2. Start with a checklist that is appropriate for the student’s level to look for common spelling and grammar mistakes. Students in different grades should have different expectations. A student in Grade 3 is only expected to correctly spell the words they have studied and use basic punctuation. An international baccalaureate student is expected to check the spelling and meaning of every word and use punctuation correctly. If they try to tackle too many mistakes or difficult concepts early on, students might become demotivated and not want to continue writing. Writing should be enjoyable.

3. Once a student has edited a variety of their own work, encourage him or her to create a personal checklist. Students often have specific mistakes or habits. Encourage students to do a search for how many times they have used the word “so” or to scan for every time they have used the word “I” and check that it is capitalized.

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