How to Edit the Rough Draft, the Fourth Step of the Writing Process

How to Edit the Rough Draft, the Fourth Step of the Writing Process
Page content

By this point, your students have completed their pre-writes, written their rough drafts, and revised them. They are now at the last step in the process before the actual publishing of their essays.They are ready to edit.

Many people get this step confused with revision. After all, both are done after the rough draft has been written and both involve checking the draft for errors and seeing what corrections can be made to improve the draft. The difference is that editing is only about grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Everything else is done.

Just like with revision, it is important to be very specific when having your students edit their papers. It may help to give them a checklist of items to look for.And like with revision, if you have the time, you may want to break editing up into a few days. This will not only allow you to spend more time on a specific skill, it will also keep your students engaged, since they will not be spending your entire class period editing. The class can edit and then move on to another assignment.

Editing is a great time to teach mini-lessons related to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. A mini-lesson is a 5-10 minute lesson that teaches one specific skill. You may have noticed that your students have a hard time using commas in a series correctly. Editing is the perfect time to teach this comma rule and have your students look in their papers to see if they have used this rule correctly.

I have found that editing is a great time to teach sentence structure.Many students write in a short, choppy manner. During editing, you can teach a mini-lesson about complex and compound sentences and require your students to go back in to their papers and add at least one of each type of sentence. Again, remember to always tell the minimum that is expected, otherwise, they may not edit anything at all! As with revision, the best way to teach grammar lessons is by modeling. If they actually see you working on a skill, they will be more successful at implementing it.

To help you quickly assess this step, have your students get their highlighters back out. Have them highlight any changes they made and anything you required (such as complex sentences) and your grading will be much easier.

This post is part of the series: The Writing Process

In this five part series, the five steps of the writing process will be addressed. Pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing will be explained and tips given as to the best ways to teach each step.

  1. Understanding the Pre-Write Component of the Writing Process
  2. The Writing Process: Writing a Rough Draft
  3. The Writing Process : Revision Lesson Plan
  4. Middle School Lesson on the Writing Process: How to Edit
  5. The Writing Process: The Final Draft & Publishing