Revision and Organization

Work with students so that they understand revision as an ongoing conversation with their audience that requires them to see their writing from a different perspective and ask questions of their writing. Students often misunderstand the difference between revision and editing as separate processes that occur at different points in the writing process, so be sure to teach revision and editing as separate lessons. (Links to strategies for  proofreading, editing, and finalizing are located at the end of this page.)

  • Reverse Outlining mini-lesson: One way to revise a draft in progress is to create a reverse outline. Reverse outlines encourage the type of metacognitive work experienced writers practice when working on a draft. They allow students to reflect on their own writing choices and to discover new possibilities.
  • Brief Reverse Outlining guide (Purdue Online Writing Lab): Provides strategies for students to organize their essays.
  • Reverse Outlining mini-lesson (Kennesaw State University Writing Center): It lists reverse outlining steps with questions and provides an example of an annotated draft.
  • Cut-and-Paste Revising strategy mini-lesson (Peter Elbow in Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process): This technique may work well with visual learners and multilingual writers because it is playful and engaging and it emphasizes a hands-on multi-sensory approach to working with a draft.
  • Effective Paragraphing handout (QC FYW): Discusses what paragraphs say versus what they do, using P-A-S (Present, Analyze, Synthesize). Ask students to do a Says/Does Analysis to determine what each of their paragraphs are doing to organize their essays.
  • Cut-and-Paste Revising handout (University of North Alabama Writing Center): It includes two sections: Section one consists of step-by-step instructions on cutting, pasting, and rearranging passages. Section two includes steps in analyzing and reflecting on the rearranged draft.
  • Academic Diction mini-lesson (Brooklyn College): A mini-lesson and handout to introduce students to the use of academic diction in their own writing.
  • Eliminating Wordiness handout (Hamilton College): Strategies for clarity in writing. Each mini-lesson should focus on a different “rule.”