It's not always easy to get kids to write. Some love it. Others despise it. But even those who have a love and knack for writing tend to throw a fit when it comes time to edit their work.
Editing is an important part of the writing process, and kids of all ages can benefit from improving their proofreading skills. Here are some tips to take the pain out of the editing process.
1. Work Together
Instead of leaving your child to her own editing devices, work with her. By going over the paper with her, you can help her develop the skills she will need to seek out errors in future writings.
It can take years for children to develop proofreading skills, so be patient and work with your child – especially if your child is very young.
It may sound counterintuitive, but working together will teach your child how to be an independent self-editor. Remember that essay editing takes time, and be patient with your child as she develops her proofreading skills.
2. Look for the Good
When helping our kids with proofreading, our first instinct is to grab our red pens and start hunting for errors. Instead of going this route, start by finding the things she did right.
Help her discover all of the things she did right with her writing before you even think about finding any errors.
Far too often, we focus only the things that need correcting and fail to praise our kids for the things they did right. But praise can raise your child's confidence level and make it easier for her to deal with constructive criticism. It will also help her focus on improving the areas in which she already excels.
3. Make Sure Your Child Understands How to Evaluate Writing
It's difficult for children to edit their own work if they don't know what mistakes to look for. Make sure that your child understands how to find mistakes.
Are paragraphs indented?
Does each sentence start with a capital letter?
Is there punctuation at the end of each sentence?
Your child's teacher should supply learning material that details which editing skills your child should be working on. You can also supply your child with an editing checklist that reinforces these skills.
4. Use Visuals to Reinforce Editing Rules
Kids forget things very easily, but using visual tools helps reinforce the information. Create a collection of editing flash cards that spells out the editing rules for your child. Make sure that each card includes examples so your child better understands how each rule is applied in a real-life scenario.
Editing your child's writing doesn't have to be a painful process. With some guidance from you, she'll develop the skills needed to pinpoint errors in her own writing. Just be patient. It can take time to develop these skills. If you're having an especially difficult time, talk to your child's teacher about strategies to improve writing or working with her after school to better her proofreading skills.