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Rewriting and Revising: Teaching Students with Special Needs

By Deb Killion

In the 3rd step of the writing process, students should work on rewriting and revising. This is the stage where they should learn to be their own worst critic. Read on for tips on teaching this phase of the writing process to students with special needs.

The 3rd Stage: Rewriting & Revising

Rewriting & Revising for Students with Special Needs In the Pre-writing process students learned to write whatever came to mind. Now they must learn to filter out the extra words, and just focus on what is most important to get their point across. Also involved in Step 3 is revising words, phrases, and sentences, so that the meaning is clearer and cohesive.

Instead of saying, "Tomorrow, I am going to town to get some groceries", they could say "I am going to town to get some groceries tomorrow." Finding different ways to say what they want to say will help improve their writing. By trial and error, they will see there is more than one way to say something, and this is where you can work with them to find the best ways. Within this, you can teach grammar and semantics in a way that makes sense to the child with special needs. You are applying it to something they understand and can use, rather than just having them write and correct sentences all day from a grammar book.

Helping Students with the Revision Process

In the revising stage, here are some questions to ask to help students find the best way to present their content:

1) Is the meaning clear and cohesive where anyone could understand it?

2) Can their words mean more than one thing to the reader?

3) Are the ideas original or do they seem to copy someone else's?

4) Have you made sentences of varying types and lengths?

5) Is the spelling correct and does grammar flow in a logical sense?

6) Is there another way to say what you said with fewer words?

7) Is there redundancy in ideas?

8) Is there style in your writing?

9) Have words been chosen carefully so that meaning is clearer?

10) If you were reading this for the first time, what would you think it meant?

If they follow this checklist of questions, their writing should improve over time by learning to think of new and better ways to say things. This also helps them develop style, and focuses on the important aspects that make up good writing.