What is editing? Ruth Culham of the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory separates revision (last month's column topic) from editing (spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation). Author Ralph Fletcher agrees. Others, like Lucy Calkins, make a distinction, but marry the two. They all agree that, when correctness and conventions are absent, no matter how powerful the message, it will never come through.
Move students away from finding what's wrong with their papers and acknowledge the intelligence behind an error. As a teacher, you can make editing meaningful by:
Finally, remind students that they edit best when they lay their text aside for a bit and return with fresh eyes. Even those experienced writers who seamlessly flex between writing, revision and editing benefit from that approach. What we must keep in mind at all times is, as Arthur Plotnik, author and editor, reminds us: "We write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside. We edit to let the fire show through the smoke."
Article by Cathy Puett Miller
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