Preparing a piece of literature of publish requires several steps before releasing it to the public. The conventions of writing as well as the presentation are very important to consider while editing literature. Editing text includes spelling, punctuation, and grammar. While editing it is important to ensure that the conventions within the writing support the style, voice and “intended inflection” (Spandel, 2013. pg. 223).
It is important to keep in mind the purpose of writing conventions– “to help readers interpret text” (Spandel, 2013. pg. 223). While editing it is important to ensure the conventions used in a person’s writing help aid the flow of the work as well as not breaking literary rules. With this in mind it is then more difficult to mark or assess writing. When marking the conventions of writing within a student’s work we should look, instead of counting the convention errors, decide if a student used writing conventions to enhance their writing.
Packaging refers to the visuals and presentation of a text in order to appeal to readers. If assigning a task such as writing a newspaper article to a class, the student will have to take in to account how to display their written work. What text will they use for the title, headings, and article? Will there be any photos associated with the article? Will the pictures be in colour or in black and white?
6 Keys to Scoring Conventions Well- Spandel pg. 233-234
1. Look beyond spelling- Students that are not confident spellers may produce excellent writing even if the text is often misspelled.
2. Score conventions before scoring other traits- If a student is not good at spelling for example, mark that first. Then mark the text without thought of the spelling mistakes.
3. Look for what is done well- Search for what traits or conventions the student uses confidently in their writing.
4. Do not overreact- Conventional mistakes can be easily fixed. Once fixed a piece of writing may be flawless.
5. Do not consider neatness or handwriting in scoring the conventions of your own students- students may produce wonderful writing in a messy manner but they should not be punished for their artistic writing style.
6. Think of yourself as a copyeditor- How far is this text from publication?
Strategies for Teaching Conventions- Spandel pg. 245- 252
1. Help students understand the reasons behind conventions- Give students unedited work to proofread to show the importance of editing work. Intimegoneby can also be taught at this time to demonstrate why we use punctuation.
2. Teach copyeditor’s symbols- together with your students create a list of symbols that can be used to show edit marks within a piece of writing. Students can also use the symbols to peer-edit or group mark pieces of text.
3. Keep editing practice short and focused- Allow students time to practice editing pieces of work. Give students one task at a time, go over a text and find spelling mistakes, then punctuation mistakes then missing capitals etc…
4. Dont correct everything- if something is misspelled multiple times, it doesn’t need to be highlighted every time. Bring the error to the attention of the writer who can take the time to fix following mistakes. Highlighting every misspelled word may take away enthusiasm for writing from the writer.
5. Let students guide the curriculum- If a majority of your students struggle with punctuation mistakes, ensure that next class that is the topic to focus on. Have your curriculum based on the needs of your students.
6. Use worksheets to make air planes- repetition of worksheet do not help students to improve writing skills. Oral language is any important part of learning that is not used while simply filling out worksheets.
7. Instead…look to literature- use pieces of published text to show the use of a certain convention or trait.
8. Remember the 72 hour rule- ensure that students have a separate time-even several days later- to edit any work they have done. It is important to return to a piece of writing at a later time with a fresh view of the whole piece.
9. Encourage students to edit with their ears-not just their eyes- to ensure sentence fluidity, students should read their work out loud. Several things happen when you read out loud vers in your head: you read slower, increased chances of finding spelling mistakes and increased chance of finding grammar mistakes. Two tips given by the book to help editors are to read from the bottom of the page to the top- I like doing this trick. Also to use a ruler to read only one line at a time.
10. Become sleuths- Have students find errors in published pieces of work, ensure they are able to say what the error is and what the correction should be.
11. Celebrate what students do correctly- be sure to add comments of what the student has done well in a piece of writing.
12. Use peer editing with caution- peer editing should be use to help improve a piece of writing before publication not marking. Students should be able to share their thoughts about a fellow students work regarding flow of sentences, word choice, punctuation and conventions.
13. Teach content area conventions, too- use and teach symbols that both students and teachers can use while editing pieces of writing. They will help add sophistication to the editing process.
14. Create a style sheet- create a list of basic requirements that students need to include in each piece of writing they hand in to be marked. Example of items on a style sheet- type of font, font size, margin size, title page requirements, simple writing rules.