One of my favourite editing "tricks" is to read out loud. First I read to myself. Sentences that are hard to speak need to be smoothed out or deleted. I circle words that are repeated too many times. Places where the story doesn't make sense almost jump off the page when you read out loud. I make sure the story has a clear flow, that the action ties together and moves toward the ending. I rewrite. Then I read out loud to someone else. A friend hearing the story for the first time can tell me where they don't understand something. They can tell me if there is a clear beginning, an interesting problem to solve, and a satisfying ending. Sometimes they have better ideas, and I go back and rewrite. Sometimes I nod politely and say; "thank you for that, " because I like my idea better.
The grade 3's got a chance to be editors when they listened to a rough copy of a book I am working on for next year. I read "Christmas Boxes" out loud and showed them the rough sketches the artist, Jerome Andaya (Taki), has prepared. This is the first time I've read the story together with the pictures. The students were fine editors! They were encouraging and helpful as they pointed out where the story and pictures didn't quite match, and they caught a few wording issues I hadn't noticed. Thumbs up for grade 3!
Thank you to Mrs. Kimberly Mah and Mrs. Courtney Antoniuk for inviting me to spend time with these developing writers. I look forward to reading their finished stories! (The "Zoo" story I wrote as an example can be found under the "more" button on this website where I post bonus material!)