The Writing Process:

Preparing to Write


Story starters

Choosing the format



Put ideas, feelings. opinions, ... to the page

Leave space to adjust.

Refer to your plan

Discuss your work

Revise meaning and development


Reflect on choices


Use Strategies


Edit language using resources, verify:




sentence structure

language usage 



Choose a medium

Make a polished copy



Let's Write: Strategies

Strategies are effective uses of resources and actions in appropriate situations in order to accomplish a task.

Strategies are a part of all our activities :

We use strategies to plan, to write, to revise, to edit, etc.

The challenge is - using the right strategies for you and your task.





bullet Taking notes is a good planning strategy
bullet Referring to your notes keeps you on track
bullet Researching with appropriate resources and references keeps you informed and gives you material to write about
bullet Taking note of the resources or references you use helps you give appropriate credits
bullet Reviewing by re-reading, reading aloud, asking a classmate to review and point out problems can help.
bullet Using checklists and lists of frequent errors or spell checkers and grammar checkers avoids common problems.
bullet Coming back to your work after a time away improves your ability to review and improve.
bullet Reviewing the sentences and paragraphs for the sequence of events and clarifying the flow and relationship of ideas

More things to check out:

   Strategy Cards

   Writing Strategies  & Ethics (bibliography, etc.)

From WritingFix

How to Be a Reviser...
final drafts by our participants
How to be a Reviser...
by Raeann, elementary teacher

Don't hold on too tight to the rough draft
Be open to new ideas
Read from every angle
Move things around
Play with your writing
Try it here
Try it there
Have fun with it!
Read your writing out loud
Fear not!
Walk away
Return and review
Remember....revision is not for the faint of heart
Embrace the possibilities
Write again
.....and again
..........and again.
A writer never has to produce a FINAL draft life it can always be changed
How To Be a Reviser
by Nancy, middle school teacher

Write a rough draft you believe in.
Re-read your rough draft with a smile.
Take a walk.
Read a book.
Eat a meal.
Hang out with a friend.
Re-read your rough draft with a smile.
Take out your green pen.
Find what is good; bring it to life.
Change words with your mind; be kind to your heart.
Change phrases with your heart; double check it with your brain.
Finish with comfort in a phrase
Or a challenge in a statement.
Let it go.
Publish it.
Now it has a life of its own.
How to be a Reviser
by Jennifer, middle school teacher

Take off your rose colored glasses and
look at your paper with new eyes.
Ready to change and rearrange.

Like a new year:
Out with the old, in with the new.

Delete redundant ideas-
Delete redundant ideas.
Add some sparkle

Rephrase confusing wording.
(Delete redundant ideas)
Repeat words/phrases for emphasis.
Look to others and examples for guidance.
Try something new

Donít be afraid to change.
It isnít black hair dye that wonít come out.
And even if it doesnít,
you can bleach it a few times
to make it different and unexpected.

Take out your toolbox
and find the tool that is best suited
for the job.
Not the one easiest to reach.
How to Use ABC's of Revision
by Karel, substitute teacher

Alliterate Nicely
Bludgeon Overused words
Create Prepositional phrases
Demand Questioning
Exaggerate Regularly
Form Series, after series, after series
Go for Transitions
Hyperbole Usefully
Invent Variety
Juggle Words
Keep it eXtreme
Love Your mentor text
Make it Zany

How to Revise
by Ryan, elementary teacher

Take a breath
and dive right in.
Flow and rhythm
will vary like your sentences
Revise your characters to
Sing with their thoughts and actions.
Expand on your ideas
Extend them as a series of three.
Stand up for your draft,
Make the choice,
and when your done with your revision,
just realize you're never finished.



  1. Strategies
  2. Writing  Fun
  3. SD = Identifying Similarities and Differences
  4. CL = Cooperative Learning
  5. SNT = Summarizing and Note-Taking
  6. ER = Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
  7. HP = Homework and Practice
  8. NR = Nonlinguistic Representation
  9. OF = Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
  10. HYP = Generating and Testing Hypotheses
  11. QCO = Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers
  12. This wiki lists Web 2.0 tools and identifies instructional strategies in which they can be used:
  13. Good writing skills are essential for effective communication. Learning to write well takes time and practice. Be sure to leave yourself enough time for all of these steps.

Strategies for Writing a Conclusion


adapted from LEO: Literacy Education Online


When you look over your papers to make sure that you've presented your ideas in ways that are clear to your readers, you send a message that you think your ideas are good enough to deserve a careful presentation.

Writers make changes to their papers at different levels. Knowing about these levels can help you divide up the job of getting a paper ready to hand in.



Read your paper aloud, or have someone read it aloud to you. We often "hear" more of our errors than we see.



Leave as much time as you can between finishing writing a paper and editing and proofreading it. This lets you "re-see" the paper with rested eyes and a more distanced perspective.



Read the paper backward -- from the end to the beginning -- one sentence (for editing) or one word (for proofreading) at a time. This helps you concentrate on sentences and words rather than on the paper's meaning as a whole.



Use two pieces of blank white paper to cover all but one sentence at a time. This helps reduce visual noise and keeps you from being distracted by other sentences.



Deliberately set aside time for proofreading, just as you set aside time for research and writing.



Build editing and proofreading into your writing process at the best place for you. Many writers like to leave it for last so that they can concentrate on their ideas first.



Good writers don't necessarily know all the grammar and punctuation "rules," but they do know where to look them up. Find and use resources.






software writing programs




handouts from your teacher or the Write Place


other writers



Keep resources handy when you write so that you aren't tempted to guess about how to correct your errors.



Ask other writers to listen to you read your paper, to read your paper as you listen, and to help you figure out and apply grammar rules. Good writers don't go it alone.



Know and keep a list of errors you make often so that you know what to look for in your papers.



Read your paper a few times for one of those errors at a time rather than reading your paper once only and trying to catch all of your errors in one pass.


Revising "On Screen" vs. Revising "On Paper"


Avoid doing a lot of revising on screen.

When you write on a computer, what you see--your "window on the text"--is quite small even if you have a large monitor (17-20"). When you're working with hard copy, your "window" is larger, at minimum 8 1/2 x 11" and possibly larger if you lay out pages next to one another. Because the "window" is smaller when you're writing on a computer, re-envisioning a whole piece of writing or large chunks of writing tends to be difficult and unproductive on screen. In fact, numerous research studies show that text revised on screen tends to be digressive, unfocused, chattier, and less concise.


To compensate for the small computer monitor "window," always print out a double-spaced copy of your draft for major revisions and reorganization. Also print hard copy for editing: letters on a screen are fluid and hard to see with accuracy, and editing from print copy will enable you to catch more easily omitted words, comma and grammar errors, and other sentence-level mistakes.


Using Spell Checkers

Spell checkers can be wonderful resources if used consistently and carefully. Make spell checking a habitual part of your process; for example, spell check right before you print every time to ensure that each document you send out has been scanned for spelling and repeated words. Also, make sure that spell checking does that job you want it to by:

bullet Checking a print dictionary for the correct spelling of a word before you add that word to your custom dictionary. Adding a misspelling to the dictionary your software uses for spell checking clearly doesn't help you avoid misspellings.


bullet Making sure that your spell check program is set up for American English rather than British or Australian English. The spelling of many English words varies among English-speaking countries.


bullet Looking carefully at each word the spell checker isolates. The speed of editing with a spell checker has a way of mesmerizing eyes so that writers don't always "see" each letter of words the spell checker locates. For instance, it's easy to overlook errors in the spelling of proper nouns.


Using the Search & Replace Feature

Any word processing program you might use will have a search and replace function that enables you to scan your text for specific words, phrases, or punctuation marks. Once you have a complete draft, use this search and replace function to look in a systematic way for misused words or phrases, punctuation errors, and wordiness patterns. Saving this search and replace process for the editing phase will allow you to concentrate when drafting on your goals, your readers, the line of your argument--in other words, to focus on communicating your meaning effectively.

You can use the search and replace feature to catch several types of errors:

bullet To scan for commonly misused words or phrases

You can use the search and replace function to check for words and expressions that you often confuse. For example, if you know that you tend to use effect (a noun meaning result) when you should use affect (a verb meaning to influence), you might want to regularly search for the two words and check to see if you've used each instance correctly. (See the Write Place handout entitled "Commonly Misused Words and Expressions" for a fairly extensive list of these "trouble makers.")

You might also check for words that you tend to replace for other words when you're typing quickly or focusing very hard on the process of getting your ideas down on paper. Let's say that one of your favorite typos is writing the for then or to for too. Since spell checking clearly won't catch such typos, when you're done drafting, you might simply search for the thes/thens or tos/toos and check to make sure that each occurrence of the word is correct.


bullet To scan for your favorite punctuation errors

You can also use the search and replace function to check for your typical punctuation errors--either scanning for particular punctuation marks or for language that goes with those marks. For instance, let's assume that you tend to use a semicolon when you should use a colon before a list. You might search for each semicolon in your text and check to see if the semicolon is followed by a list. If you find a spot where the semicolon is used prior to a list, you can in that instance replace the semicolon with a colon.


bullet You can also use the search feature to help you find particular words associated with incorrect punctuation patterns in your writing. If you tend to write run-on sentences--that is, you often omit the comma before a coordinating word that connects two sentences--you probably omit the comma only when certain words act as connectors. Let's assume that you only omit the comma when and or or connects two complete thoughts. Using the search feature to find the ands and ors in your text, you can then ask yourself if the coordinator connects two nouns, two verbs, two phrases, or two sentences. If and or or connects two sentences, you can replace and with , and or can simply insert the comma before the connecting word to correct the punctuation error.


bullet To scan for your wordiness patterns

Most writers tend to fall into particular wordiness patterns. One writer might frequently start sentences with It is and There are, while another writer might use a lot of which and that clauses. Once you're aware of your typical wordiness patterns, you can use the search and replace feature to find specific types of wordy constructions. In each instance, then, where the pattern occurs, you can decide how you'll edit the sentence.


bullet To help you locate incorrectly spelled proper names or acronyms

If you should need to change the spelling of a proper name or an acronym throughout an entire draft, use the search and replace function. Change the name or acronym "globally"--that is change every instance at once rather than finding and changing each instance one by one.


bullet To help you find technical terms and specific data

Once you're done writing your draft, you can use the search function to help you address the needs of secondary readers. You can use search to locate particular technical terms that may need to be defined or data that may need further explanation--in the text itself, in attachments or appendices, or in a glossary of terms.




Editing strategies:

Editing Checklist

  1.  Editing Checklist


Writing Fix

Teaching revising

Revising Drafts

Four Revision Resources from the EWG:


Revising Together! Here are instructions for teaching whole-class revision, and a whole-class sample to show your students.

Revising for Stronger Introductions (Organization)! Here are simple instructions for teaching students to seek out different techniques for beginning a piece of writing, then to use a favorite technique in their own writing.
Revising for Word Choice! Here are simple instructions and a student example for showing how a writer can think differently about verbs by underlining them as a revision strategy.
Revising again for a Different Audience (Voice)! Here is a fun friendly-letter review activity that shows how ideas and language sometimes need to change when a different audience is addressed.

Four Revision Resources from the SWG:

bullet The Revision Sprint. A great activity and write-up that has students compare their own use of writing skills as they prepare to revise a rough draft.
Revision Checklists. If traits is the language of your classroom, these four checklists will help your students begin to find multiple ideas for improving their rough drafts. Students can apply the checklists to their own writing, or they can have a partner read their papers and fill out the checklist for them.
Revision Coversheets. Here are two different versions of a trait-based coversheet that can be marked after reading over a student's second draft.
Revision Dice! Here is a fun way to engage students as they come up with revision strategies for their rough drafts. Fold the templates into dice, and let your students roll all four. Whatever four suggestions come up they need to try adding to their rough drafts.

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