Lorrie Tom's Writing Recipes
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Revision and Editing Resources

Rainbows and Unicorns, Editing and Revision, Oh My!

Feel free to share this video and one-page summary with parents. It's a guide for teaching them how to help with revision and editing at home.  The goal is to make the whole experience drama-free! Teachers, it won't hurt if you take a look at this, too.  Drama-free revision and editing is a mighty good goal for the classroom, too.

Rainbows and Unicorns, Revision and Editing, Oh My!

1. Supplies:  Post-its, copies of the writing piece for Writer and Listener, Skittles (you’ll see why soon).

2. Start with fabulous: Writer reads piece aloud. Writer and Listener pick a golden line.  Share.

3. Visit the magical Land of Revision:

a. Writer reads piece aloud again.

b. Notice parts where Writer stumbles over words, or pauses, or has to reread. Often, this is a signal screaming, “Revise me here!” Listener helps ID these places in the piece, and makes cute Post-it notes for future reference.

c. Listener asks questions, if applicable: Can you tell me more about this part? (Listener is really asking for more details.) What did you mean here? (Listener is really saying he/she is confused.) Take notes!

d. Listener asks, “What revision are you going to do?” 

e. Writer answers with one or more of the following: I am going to add this…/ I am going to take this part out…/ I am going to move this…/ I am going to change this…/ Dang, I’m starting over.

f. Do the revisions.  This is a small sentence, BUT it’s a big and hard task.  Gauge energy and resistance of the Writer.  Push for at least ONE significant revision, but don’t go for Pulitzer Prize-winning perfection if an attitude storm is brewing. The Writer’s engagement with this process so he/she repeats it in the future is MORE important than the piece of writing.  Always keep that in mind.  Always.


4. Next stop, The Land of Editing: Find one grammar, punctuation, or spelling move the Writer made that was awesome. Encouragement ensues.

5. Catch Brain Freeze Mistakes: Remind the Writer that composing takes a lot of brain power. We make silly mistakes when our brains are working overtime. These are the ones that make you think, “I can’t believe I did that. I know how to spell dog.  I know sentences start with capital letters!” Catch all those Brain Freeze Mistakes. Between Writer and Listener, who can find the most? 

6. Catch Signs of Intelligent Life Mistakes: These are the most impressive kind of mistakes because it means the Writer is trying something new and advanced, oh my! This is when Writer and Listener have to look at reference books, or Google “dangling participles” or “difference between lie and lay.” Listener, if you know how to fix these, do it for free, but share your knowledge.

7. Taste the Rainbow Proofreading: Print copies of the revised and edited piece for the Writer and the Listener. Whenever, a person finds a typo, fix it and eat a Skittle. Taste the rainbow!  The person who finds the most mistakes turns into a proofreading unicorn for 24 hours. See, isn’t revising and editing fun!