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Writing Lesson Idea: Self-Editing


A key part of writing is editing - recognizing and correcting mistakes of grammar, useage and logic. In this lesson help your student begin to examine his own work using a self-editing checklist.

Adapted from Readers and Writers with a Difference by Lynn K. Rhodes & Curt Dudley-Marling; and from Craft Lessons: Teaching Writing K-8 by Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi.

  • A piece your student has written.
  • Student Handout: Self-editing Checklist
  • Teaching Adults: A Literacy Resource Book by Laubach Literacy Action, p 115.
  • Discuss with your student the various steps used in writing: brainstorming, rough draft, asking “Does it make sense?” and “Have I left anything out?”; revising, self-editing.
  • Adapt the checklist so that is appropriate to the skills of your student (or create your own). Explain the list and help your student decide which part of it you will focus on in that particular piece of writing.
  • As your student’s writing skills improve, the self-editing checklist should change as well to reflect growth and new knowledge.
  • Model for your student the process of reading a piece of writing, repeating sections when necessary, and marking the changes to be made. For example, if your focus is the use of capital letters at the beginning of sentences, circle the first letter of all uncapitalized sentences.
  • Focus on only one or two things to teach your student for each piece. The mistakes you don’t correct will show up on the next piece of writing and can be corrected then.
  • You may need to demonstrate the process of re-reading and using simple editing marks several times, especially as you go through the various elements of the checklist. When you think your student has a feel for the editing process, have them read the piece to you, making the same type of editing marks.
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