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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.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

7 thoughts on “Rereading. Rereading. Rereading. Leave a comment

  1. The school I work in recently had an author visit and give a presentation about writing. I was so worried when I heard the presentation would be over an hour long. I thought, how on earth are my second graders going to sit and listen for over an hour!? To my surprised, my students were so engaged as they listened to this author share life stories and events that inspired her writing. One of the biggest lessons my students and I learned from her visit was how often writers reread their writing. She explained how she would sometimes reread and rewrite a story 30 times before it was complete. This is something I always refer back to. It is a powerful skill to teach children.

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  2. I am so glad you are thinking about this and how we can teach our writers/readers not only how important rereading is, but why and how to do it. One thing I’ve noticed is that many kids do reread–exactly they same way they read the first time through, without making adjustments or trying to clear up confusion, etc. Part of what we need to teach is how rereading is different than first reading.

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  3. I have a daughter who is constantly asking me to proofread her writings for her college classes. It is obvious that she has not reread what she has written, before she sends her papers to me. I know that she knows how to write, but does not want to take the time to reread her writings. I agree, wholeheartedly that teachers need to teach students to reread everything that they write!

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  4. Guess what?! Maybe you already know. The final draft of Ohio’s ELA model curriculum came out and your book is a suggested resource for grade 2 teachers!

    “Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Schbitz states (from the front piece): “This outstanding professional book [will help teachers] think and learn about many important aspects of teaching writing, I believe it will also provide new energy to teachers who want to fall in love with teaching writing all over again.” ”

    Yeah you two!

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  5. Wow–a seemingly basic but overlooked detail. Teaching college freshmen, I have them do peer response on what I call “strong” drafts and sometimes on “discovery” drafts (earlier in the process); this activity can be valuable or it can get rote. In these rough “strong” drafts, rereading TOO much is a sign (visit issues of clarity or need for the passage itself in the grand scheme of things). Still, rereading is totally necessary with drafts as writers are finding their meaning–sentence level stuff will get in the way early on..My “what does it ‘seem’ like they’re saying?” in a response guide hopefully invites a closer look/rereading.

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  6. The same came be said of readers. So often they lose meaning because they refuse to reread. (I was just having a conversation with a struggling reader last week about the fact that I HAVE to reread in order to comprehend. That reader looked at me in shock.) Somehow we have to make all young readers and young writers understand the crucial importance of rereading!

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