8. Revising Structure

(This lesson comes courtesy of my time at Deep Center–if you like the lessons, please consider donating to or teaching with this awesome youth writing program!)


Today’s goal

  • Revise at the story/piece level by reorganizing, cutting, adding, and/or changing something about the entire piece.

Target exercise ideas

  • Revise v. Edit: Make a T-chart together and ask your kids to name the purpose and their feelings about “revise” and “edit”.  Young writers are in charge of revision and ideas, while the “boring” editing can be entrusted to fellows, who are pros!
    • Revise: polish, ideas, add, subtract, clarify, vivid, original, fearless, etc.
    • Edit: fix, grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, etc.
  • Help Me Revise: Bring in an incomplete piece of your own writing (but don’t reveal you’re the author until the end of the exercise.) Ask the kids to read and make revision suggestions. If this were your piece, what would you change? Why? Then thank them for their feedback. This shows you’re willing to take the same risk you’re asking your kids to take.
  • Guided peer feedback, I Wonder: Break into pairs, and give each team sticky notes. Read through your partner’s piece, and use the sticky notes to ask any questions that come to mind while you read. Start each question with “I wonder…” This can point out areas where the author can add, subtract, or clarify.

Reading ideas

Writing prompt ideas

  • This week, each author is responding to specific, measurable individual revision feedback from writing fellows.
  • Consider these questions if you’re stuck during feedback:
    • Should/could we get to the tension sooner?
    • Is there too much exposition?
    • Do we need to add in some dialogue?
    • Is there a scene missing that we could develop more?
    • Do we need one more stanza?
    • Should we have more line breaks?
    • Should the last line of our paragraph stand alone?
    • Does the first line of each paragraph draw us in?
    • Are our ideas organized? Do we have strong transitions and a focused closure?
    • Are some parts distracting? Confusing? Boring? Should we omit them or add to them?
    • What happens if we change the point of view?



  • Weeks 8-10 are about intention and clarity. Our goal is for students to use performance to bring to life the story they’re hoping to tell in the most powerful way they can tell it. As your young authors read, guide them on projection and make sure they are reading with confidence.
  • Say What? In pairs, authors read their pieces aloud to see how they they sound. Annotate any areas that get tricky or cause stumbles, then investigate if changes need to be made.