Writing Process: Revising and Editing

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12890

Your work is a reflection on you! Just as a funhouse mirror doesn't give a flattering image, sloppy writing distorts your message. Learn how to touch-up your essay to get your message across clearly!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Do you know what a thesaurus is? Can you find another word for "thesaurus"? What words are synonyms for “revise”?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “revise” means to make changes, especially to correct or improve (something): to study (something) again.

There are many words that are synonyms of revise — some of them are: "alter," "amend," "reorganize," "rework," "rewrite," "change," and "modify." In this lesson, you will revise and edit the essay that you wrote in the last lesson. You will need your rough draft, T chart, sensory chart, and gathering grid.

If you skipped or need to revisit the previous Related Lessons in this Writing Process series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.

Revision is the third step of the writing process. During this step, you will revise your paper for organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

  1. Take out a piece of paper and pencil.
  2. As you watch Writing a Personal Narrative: Revising for Kids, by Teaching Without Frills, write down the steps the speaker says you should make when revising an essay:


The video you just watched mainly addressed finding errors in word choice and sentence fluency. However, there are other things you need to bear in mind when revising your essay.

The first thing you want to look for is:

  • Did you get your message across?

In other words, did you stick to your topic and develop your topic enough so that your audience was able to understand your message? After you read through your paper to check for this, have someone else read it, then ask them what they think is the message of the story. If you have not been able to get your message across, then you need to go back to the planning pages you created to see if you left out any events.

The second thing you want to look for is organization. In a narrative essay, the writing is organized in chronological, or time, order. You will write the events that happened first, second, and so on, in the order that they happened. You will use transition words like "After," "Before," "During," "First," "Second," "Today," and "Next" to help you maintain the chronological order of events. You will also check to see if your writing makes sense. If there is anything that does not make sense, you will correct it.

The next thing you will revise your essay for is voice. When you write a personal narrative, you want to sound as if you are telling the story to your best friend. You will check the word choices you made in the story. Are the words you used in the story words that you use when speaking? Read your story out loud to check for the word choices you made. Does your voice sound natural? Do you sound confident and excited to tell the story? These are some of the things you check for in voice.

You will also revise your essay for word choice. Did you use sensory words? Did you use strong action verbs and descriptive adjectives and adverbs? A thesaurus is a good tool to use during this stage to help you find more descriptive words in place of boring ones.

The last step in revision is sentence fluency. During this stage, you will check to see if:

  1. your sentences all begin the same way. For example, “The next thing...” “The next thing...”. It is good to use transitional words but do not use the same ones over and over. Vary the way you begin your sentences.
  2. you use different types of sentences. Do not use all simple sentences; also use compound and complex sentences.
  3. you use sentences of different lengths. Short, choppy sentences are not very effective when telling a story. Make sure you use sentences of varying lengths.
  4. your sentences flow. Your sentences should flow together in order to create a picture for the reader, going from one idea to the next.

Did you know that most authors spend more time revising their writing than they do writing their rough draft? This is because they want to make their writing the best it can possibly be. When they are creating their rough draft, they are simply getting their story down. Then, they can go back and add details, correct any grammatical errors, and remove anything that does not work with their story.

Continue to the Got It? section to revise your rough draft.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.