No matter how you look at it, there are lots of proofreading marks, and it’s going to take a while to memorize all of them. However, there are several strategies I’ve used over the years to help my students apply proofreading marks when they get together for peer editing:
- tape the proofreading symbols to the students’ desks inside a page protector sleeve
- score their first draft based on how many proofreading symbols appear on the first draft
- require the use of actual proofreading symbols whenever students do their Daily Oral Language (Daily Language Learning) lessons
- quiz students on these proofreading marks and their use by giving them a handout that shows lots of errors and asking them to correctly edit it
By far, the best strategy I’ve used is #2. It’s tricky though, especially when dealing with the Hermione Grangers in class (see my previous post entitled “How to Teach Students to Use a Thesaurus” to make sure you’re being fair to all the best writers in your classroom).
Editing shouldn’t be a five-minute event in your classroom. My classes usually spend two to three days editing. That’s closer to the way things go in the real world of writers and editors.
How would I know what the “real world” is like? I’m YA author, Chelly Wood, and although I’ve taught English/language arts for 20+ years, my real passion comes from being a novelist. My tale of a Latina teen who finds herself pregnant without a baby daddy will be released in July of 2016 by Reputation Books. It’s called Sunkissed Sodas, and you can see the book trailer on my YouTube channel.
But let’s get back to the educationally-based discussion at hand. How can we teach our students to correctly use proofreading marks? Start by presenting them with the handouts I offer on this website. Here’s a link to the page called “Proofreading Symbols“. This page will give you the symbol, it’s name, and examples of how it’s used. These are also available on my Pinterest page, by the way.
Did you know English Emporium has a page offering my PowerPoint presentations too? These take the students, step by step, through each of the six traits of good writing, to help them find mistakes they never would have noticed without your help and guidance. Here are a few that are especially helpful for editing:
Let me know if you have any trouble downloading those PowerPoint presentations.
That’s probably enough on the topic of teaching proofreading marks. Remember that I frequently check English Emporium for comments or questions from my followers. I’m happy to share my expertise with other teachers and writers.
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