“It’s not fun to reread everything but you have to edit your work. I’ve written long essays at Uni, thinking they were good, but when I edited them, I found some bits just didn’t make sense. Sometimes your brain takes a little rest and you don’t write as well.”
That’s what my son’s grade two teacher said this morning as she led a class on editing.
The ability to edit what we write is an important communication skill. For instance, if I wrote an invitation for Thursday 10pm, I may be a bit lonely at 10am when no one turn up because I hadn’t checked what I wrote in the invitation.
While it can be much easier to edit someone else’s work as it is fresh to us and we don’t have an expectation or memory of what was to be written, there are many times when doing your own editing is necessary.
Technically, learning to read and write gives us the skills to edit our work (for example, you could recognise ‘siad’ was incorrectly spelt).
However, as I saw in the classroom today, being given direct tasks for editing is an effective way to understand and undertake editing.
Each student was given a checklist of tasks to edit a piece of work they wrote last week.
The group I worked with, went through the list item by item to improve their writing. When I edit, I probably do multiple steps at once but doing one at a time is simpler for children. I also think that doing it step by step actually makes errors easier to spot.
So the checklist today was:
Why not follow this list next time you have to edit something?
Just because this list uses very specific terms taught at our school (and others!), here are a few tips…
I liked that the teacher today actually told the students to get help with editing.
First, she suggested that if they suspected (or knew!) a word was misspelt they could check the spelling by using their dictionary or asking a classmate.
Then, she also suggested that for any sentence they were unsure of, it was ok to say “Hey, Tom, does this make sense to you?” and get someone else’s opinion.
So even if you don’t get someone to edit your writing for you, you can look up or ask for help on specific sections of your work. If the writing is of importance, the editing help is really worth the effort.
Producing an annual report is a huge job – there are so many details to co-ordinate. Before signing off a final draft, I always get the following items checked at least once, often using different people for specific list items so they can focus and are more likely to spot any errors.
If all the above have been checked thoroughly, your annual report is correct and can be signed off ready for publication.
It’s easy to rush through this section because time is running out nad everyone’s a bit over the whole project by the end. However, it is such an important part of the process and needs to be carried out diligently (such as having multiple people involved).
When planning the annual report process, I always allow a week and preferably two weeks for the review. Not only does this reduce the rush, it gives me spare time if changes are required and a second review becomes necessary.
Do you have a checklist for finalising an annual report or similar large project? Do you involve multiple people in the review process?
A few days ago, I posted about the importance of checking presentation as well as details of your content. Today, I am going to list the details I check for when reviewing a draft for a document’s design elements.
This list is in the order I think of them, not necessarily in any importance.
If you are happy with all of these details, you will be very close to the correct design for your needs.