Oftentimes, my students write a draft and they are done. They are ready to publish and move on to the next piece. A major focus area for me is to get them to read their writing back to themselves to determine whether or not it makes sense. This should be done before it is given to a peer or me for editing.
I reminded students that one of the purposes for writing is to convey information to the reader. To do that, we have to make sure our writing is clear. I displayed my writing on the document camera and modeled reading it aloud to myself. I told them our brains know what we want to say, so we can miss our mistakes if we go too fast. We have to slow down and point to each word as we read. I did this and made corrections with a colored pencil as I went along. (Students are very adept in helping me find my mistakes.) Missed periods are common at this age according to the Developmental Writing Scale, so I am sure to focus on ‘stops’ as I read and add periods where needed.
Students began reading their typed informational paragraphs they have been working on aloud. I walked around to see if they were taking the time to point to each word. Still, I caught some students sliding their fingers along, reading, and not catching mistakes. I would ask them to go back and point and ask if what they read made sense. They would recognize it did not, correct it, and make an effort to slow down and point. One student was extremely proud of herself for finding her mistake. She said, “Miss Jones, I wrote this sentence, but it didn't make sense, so I fixed it. Now, it sounds right.” I told her she was doing an excellent job of editing her writing for clarity.
Students were assess via a rubric based on the use of complete sentences. The goal of the lesson was for students to be able to read back their sentences slowly and edit them for clarity. Was the sentence complete? Did it make sense? Was a word left out? This put students on the road to evaluating their writing to determine if it would make sense to the reader.
To close the lesson, I displayed the rubric on the document camera. I asked students to evaluate their writing and hold up their fingers to represent the number they would assign to it. This gave me visual feedback of where students placed their writing on a scale.