You have all finished a draft of your writing. We’re almost ready to publish and present our writing to the public. Good authors write to convey a meaning. They choose specific words and examples or scenes in order to do that. Right before they publish, they read through their stories to make sure that they’ve included everything they need and nothing that would be distracting. This is called revising. In this lesson, we will revise by looking at our stories is different ways and make sure our message is clear.
First, I choose something specific to look for in my rereading. I use a student’s story and ask them what the message is in their story. They share that it is about a girl who overcomes fear to be brave. I model to the class how I read with that idea in mind. I’m looking for places where the main character is afraid and then a scene that show how she isn’t afraid any more. I read the story out loud and ask the class if they see it. They do.
I continue looking at the student’s writing, focusing on character development. Does the student use internal dialogue to show how the character is more than one dimensional? If not, I ask that student to explain how they can make it clearer.
To demonstrate how a writer can chose to revise many different parts, I continue with this student's writing and look for setting, description, vocabulary, etc. each of the areas that I think students in my class will be able to focus on. Some parts are going to be stronger than other and require less work. I remind students that each writer has their strengths and we're looking to revise areas that could be stronger.
In order for students to be able to do this work on their own, they need to have some common phrases that they can use on themselves and hear as they are they revising. A few self-talk phrases are: I look for strong and clear language while rereading my writing. I try to notice where the image can be clearer. Can I envision this setting? What details are missing? I just keep switching focuses to make sure I’ve revised my story to be as strong as possible.
After I share these with students, I ask if there are any other questions that they might use to help them revise their stories. A few that they share are: "Is what they character doing and why they are doing it clearly described or explained?" and "Are the words I used precise enough?"
After reviewing the different areas writers revise, I ask them to do it on their own. Look at this list of good writing and use each one resee my story and revise weak areas.
After students have finished making revisions to their stories, I ask them each to chose one thing they changed that really made their story better. I then have them share it with their table group while I listen in and try to find some specific gems to share out of the whole class.