Rereading. Rereading. Rereading.
Something that I’ve noticed about myself is the thing I do THE MOST when writing is rereading. I spend exorbitant amounts of time rereading. Then I reread some more. Then I reread it aloud.
Something I’ve noticed writers in classrooms DON’T do is reread. Hardly ever. And when they do reread it is rarely worthwhile.
Today I taught two minilessons about rereading. These lessons went beyond “Writers reread their writing.” It was more about the logistics. I’ve not taught this kind of lesson often enough. It’s an appropriate lesson for all grades. It’s a lesson that can be repeated.
- How do you reread so it’s meaningful?
- What should you note in your draft while rereading? (And, yes, you should always have a pen (or something) to write with when rereading.)
- What kinds of things should you hear in your brain when you reread?
In one of the classrooms the bulk of the students were in revision and in the other most students were editing. Rereading is vital to both of these processes. What I noticed while conferring is often students noticed something was awry in their drafts, but they didn’t write it down. I intentionally conferred with writers of different experiences and this was true for all of them. They ignored misspellings, confusing parts, missing punctuation and kept on reading without noting the issues.
I’m realizing students need to be taught to listen to the voice in their brain while rereading their writing. (I’ve taught this kind of lesson during reading workshop, but never during writing.) This may be part of the reason why students turn in work with mistakes that we know they know how to correct. Rereading as a writer is an active process. I think, more than anything, for students to learn this important work, they have to practice. We must be intentional in helping them learn to take time to reread. In the last month of the school year, my goal is to teach this lesson more and figure out the words that resonate with young writers so they learn to value rereading.