As many of you who have taken my "Red Pencil" workshop know, I believe that teachers must communicate to their students that real writers revise. This was confirmed when I heard Avi, one of my favorite authors, say at the South Carolina Reading Association that he revises each of his books 60-70 times! That's a fact to dangle in front of all your students. Here are other gems I gleaned that day; I hope you will share them with your colleagues and in your classroom:
- "Your primary means to teach writing is to teach reading."
- "Kids are impatient. They don't want to do the hard work of revision. It may look OK on the computer, but in fact it's not."
- "Unless the writing is clear, engaging & interesting, the reader won't turn the page."
- "At some point a person begins to think like a writer…when they have the capacity to see what's missing and add to it."
- "No surprises for the writer? No surprises for the reader."
- "Teaching reading and writing is like teaching a second language. When kids begin to write, they write like they speak; the grammar of talking is different than the grammar of writing."
And my favorite:
- "Want to get higher grades? Read a book every week. Guaranteed."
This picture is proof that I can't go to a reading conference without buying a book—especially when signed by the author!
Avi, Red Pencil is Your Best Friend, Revision, SCIRA