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INSTEAD OF VERY

Even the best writers are always trying to improve their writing. There’s a whole industry of different types of editors who help people to craft the best possible version of their idea. Unfortunately most of us can’t afford a personal editor to prefect everything we write, so we have to learn to self-edit our work. Self-editing is difficult. It is incredibly tempting to just let spell check do all the work, but spell-check isn’t perfect. It can only tell you what you’ve done wrong, it can’t tell you how to improve and grow as a writer. This makes it vital to encourage kids to learn how to self-edit from a young age. Not only does it help improve their comprehension and critical reading skills, but it allows them to learn how to clearly express an idea.

  • To help your students flex their creative writing muscles, get them to write a story without using the word very. ‘Instead-of-very-in-your-writing’ worksheet will provide them with some examples of substitute words, and provide an understanding of how to pick more descriptive words.
  • Teaching student to remove the word very from their writing is an excellent place to start when learning to self-edit. Very is easily identified and fixed. To expand on that, work together as a class to brainstorm other words to take out of your writing. Good starting points are filler words )like ‘just’ and ‘really’) and redundant phrases (like ‘advance forward’ or ‘careful scrutiny’).
  • Most famous authors have given writing advice during their careers. Have students research their favourite authors to discover their best writing advice. They can then use that advice to improve a story they have written.
  • What makes a piece of writing great to read? There is no universal objective measure for what makes one book a great read and another no so much. Discuss it as a class or in groups, and decide on what you think makes an effective writing piece. Basics like it-make-sense is a great place to start.
  • A class activity could be reading a book, a page, a piece from a magazine and as a class or individually analyse whether the writing is good or not so good and justify your answer based on the criteria you came up with.
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Cindy x

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