Most common mistake when teaching writing

What’s the difference between revising and editing a piece of writing?  Many people, including tutors and professionals, confuse the two.

Revising is the process of expanding and clarifying what is written and should be done before the piece is edited.  The writer may revise a piece several times.  The tutor uses questions to get the learner to do the work.  Strategies could include the following:

  • Ask what the piece is about, who the audience is and how this should affect the audience.
  • Have the learner read the piece to you and then discuss the content.  Ask if the topic is clear and can any details be added, changed or taken out to make the ideas clearer.
  • Are the ideas put in a logical order?
  • The tutor reads the piece aloud as the learner listens critically.  You might ask, “Does this say what you want it to say?” “What do you like best about it?”  “Can you do anything to improve it?”

When you make suggestions, use the form of questions, such as

  • What would happen if …..?
  • How would it sound if…..
  • When this happened, what else did you notice?

Editing involves correcting the grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, etc.  In other words, editing works on the mechanics.  We don’t want to overwhelm the learner—just work on one or two errors or one general principle at a time.  It is very important to encourage the writer that the message is more important than spelling, grammar or penmanship.  Show the learner that you value and understand what (s)he has written by responding to the message before correcting minor errors. This may give the learner the courage to actually use writing.

Regardless of whether the writing is a personal letter, essay or term paper, the process is the same.

-A lesson in writing compliments of Olive Burkard,
Certified ProLiteracy Trainer, Lake County Library System

Register Today for FLC’s Free Volunteer Literacy Tutor Symposiums

This month, FLC is presenting four volunteer literacy tutor symposiums highlightingtechniques and activities related to three facets of teaching literacy:

  1. Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
  2. The Art of Teaching Speaking
  3. Teaching Writing

From Our Trainers

Roberta Reiss

“The Tutor Symposiums offered by FLC are some of the most energizing, productive events I have experienced in my role as a trainer.  We have the chance to focus on some of the best resources in our field.  It’s a real luxury to have an hour or two to explore and experience the theories and activities found in books that go beyond the typical core tutor materials.  There have been many times when I have gotten hold of a new resource, only to have it sit while other priorities took over my day.  This chance to come together with other tutors and discover the resource together is a great way to share.”

—Roberta Reiss, ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer & Lead Symposium Faciltator

“As a presenting trainer this year, I’m excited about the materials we will be using.  The Multiple Intelligences theory of “How am I Smart?” will be sure to stimulate discussion.  It will be fun to try some lesson plans and discover our MI.  The information contained in The Art of Teaching Speaking is so useful for those tutors trying to help ESOL learners speak English that is relevant to their goals and situations.  Encouraging our learners to speak can be difficult at times, so getting ideas and resources for stimulating conversation will be invaluable.

Some tutors may be asking why we are focusing a section on Writing, but we’ll find out why it is essential to teach writing as well as reading, and get useful tools for doing so.”

–Olive Burkard, ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer, presenting in Ocala and Orlando

Training dates and locations:

  1. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 8, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, Venice, FLTHIS TRAINING IS FULL
  2. 1-5 p.m., Jan. 15, Leon County Public Library, Tallahassee, FL
  3. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 27, Rasmussen College- Ocala Campus, Ocala, FL
  4. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Jan. 31, Adult Literacy League of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Each training will be led by a ProLiteracy America Certified Trainer and is free to attend, but registration is required as seating is limited. 

Please contact Yari Payne at FLC with any questions – (407) 246-7110 ext. 203 or payney@floridaliteracy.org.

These trainings are collaborative learning events brought to you by the Florida Adult Literacy Resource Center, a program of the Florida Literacy Coalition.  These workshops are made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education