Revisions that Improve Writing

Writing Draft -2How Do I Make It Better?

” Students sometimes wonder how they can make a well written early draft even better. If you teach them specific steps they can take to improve their writing themselves, you will have taught a skill they can use for life. Consider using alliteration to help them recall the tasks that can be done in any order. During revision, encourage students to apply the Five E’s.

 

  •  Expand – develop what is written to make ideas clearer and more interesting without being repetitive. Add more information to show rather than tell. Use carefully chosen examples from literature (any reading and viewing), life (personal experiences and observations), and lessons learned in other content area courses. This may require research to find credible sources and experts to add weight to their arguments.

  • Explain  – clarify what is written by using various reasons based on experiences and observations and lessons learned in other courses. “This is important because…”

  • Exchange and rearrange – what words can be substituted that will make the writing clearer, more interesting, more precise? Consider using more active verbs instead of passive ones with forms of the verb “to be”; more concrete nouns, more words that have the positive or negative connotations to create the desired mood in your reader. Think about ways words, sentences, paragraphs can be rearranged to make the ideas unfold more smoothly, making the thoughts less unambiguous, more interesting, and more inviting to consider. What does audience need to know before making a decision? This is why skillful informative writing is important.

  • Expunge get rid of distracting or weak words, phrases, and sentences that cloud writing that clouds and prevents ideas from shining through, glowing with authority as the writing informs, convinces, persuades, and even entertains.”

  • Enliven – -use active verbs instead of passive verbs  Use concrete nouns rather than abstract ones. Where appropriate, inject  fresh and sensory images to help read experience the ideas/concepts/feelings in your writing.

*Excerpt from TEACHING WRITING IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL: Common Core and More (2013)

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Teaching English Language Arts