After over 20 years of teaching college English, the author loves to share tips, teaching plans, and information about the profession.
4 Ways Peer Editing Helps
Simple answer, you will write a better paper. Publishers and professional writers know this. That is why all published works are thoroughly read and re-read by friends, family members, and other writers along with an editor.
You can get the same sort of help. My worksheet makes sure that your editors focus on essential things that can help you improve your paper. Do this with some friends, and it works even more effectively. Here are four reasons this works:
- Guided Self-Editing: The first part of the workshop gives you questions to go through for you to analyze your paper. This analysis often gives you a starting point for revision.
- Learn By Example: As you read the papers of other people, you will often better understand the assignment and get ideas for revising yours.
- Learn by Editing: Next, as you answer the peer editing questions for other students’ papers, you will often get ideas that help your writing.
- Feedback From Others: Finally, you will get feedback from other students who will tell how well you communicated your point to your reader and will help you as you work to explain yourself more clearly.
3 Ways to Get Editing Help
On Your Own: You can do this with a group of friends, or even with your roommate. Use the worksheet to help you edit your paper and have people edit your essay.
In Class: In my college English class, I find that groups of four to five students work best. Before the groups start, I have each writer fill out the "Writer's Evaluation" section of the worksheet on their paper. Then students exchange documents and read and answer the rest of the questions. When they finish one essay, I have them exchange it for another one. It helps to have at least two people read your paper, or even more. That way, you can evaluate their comments. If they both tell you to add more examples, you better do it.
Email: Don't have anyone in your class or nearby that can edit? You can also email your paper to a friend or family member and have them help. It can be helpful to have them use the "tracking" function under "review" in Word so that you can see their corrections and accept or reject them. Just be sure that you delete all of the comments before you turn your paper in to your instructor!
Along with getting help from someone else, it is vital to do your evaluation. If you can, take a break from the writing first. When you get back to your paper, you will have fresh eyes to see mistakes and ways that you can write more clearly. The following questions help you to take a look at your paper from a different angle. Answer these questions first before you give your essay to someone else.
- Underline your thesis and topic sentences in each paragraph.
- Label the summary section. Label the response section. Next to each response paragraph, tell what type of response you have made:
- Agreeing/disagreeing and explaining why.
- Explaining Like/Don’t like and why.
- Comparing what is in the article to your own experience.
- Taking an idea in the paper and expanding on it using your own experience or something else you have read
- Analyzing the rhetorical situation: audience, occasion, purpose, and context and whether the writing is effective.
- Analyzing the writer’s style, tone, word choice, and examples. Explaining how the author makes you feel the way you do after reading the article.
3. Take a sheet of paper and answer the following questions (which will be passed around with your essay)
1. What I want the reader to understand is . . .
2. My piece is strong in . . .
3. Where my essay is weak is . . .
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4. I’d like suggestions on . . .
Peer Editing Worksheet
Try to read at least two papers and write comments on them. You will probably spend the most time on the first paper. The main thing to remember is you want to help them write a better essay.
- Put your name at the top of the paper as Reader #1____ or Reader #2 etc.
- Read the Writer’s Evaluation Comments.
- Read the paper and be an active reader by annotating and making comments as you read. For example, you can:
- Underline any grammar/spelling errors you see and put a question mark or comment in the margin.
- ·Mark positive comments like “Good,” “interesting,” and “nice analogy” along the margins.
- ·If you don’t understand something or think the writer needs to give more explanation of a point, write that in the margin. Mark sentences that are weak.
- ·If you can think of an example the writer could use or a way they could organize or present the material more clearly, tell them!
4. On a separate sheet of paper, write your name, the person whose paper you are editing, and then answer the following:
- Introduction/Conclusion: Do these tie together? How could the writer improve these?
- Summary: Do you understand the summary? Does the summary omit anything you think needs to be added? Do they use author tags correctly?
- Thesis: Re-write the main idea of the paper. Does the writer make their thesis and purpose clear? How could they sharpen their focus?
- Response/Body: In your own words, write what you think the writer is saying in the response. What audience is the writer addressing? Where could they better convince that audience? Where could they add more or better evidence and details? Do they need to expand their response?
- Your Response: Write out your thoughts about the writer’s response. Explain what you like/dislike, or agree/disagree about their reaction to the article.
- Audience: Who is the audience for this paper? How does the author address that audience effectively with the tone, style, word choice, and examples? Where could they be more effective?
- Body: How can the reasoning of the paper be improved? Where can the writer add details or examples? Where do they need to add transitions?
- What is done well in this paper?
- What needs the most improvement? Where should the writer focus when they re-write?
- Answer the Writer's Evaluation questions
Basic Outline of Reading Response Paper
See full instructions in "How to Write a Reading Response Paper with Sample Essays."
Introduction (two paragraphs)
1. Introduce the Subject: Get readers' attention and introduce the subject through a story, statistics, current event, vivid description, personal experience, or other introduction that helps the reader understand the issue.
2. Summary of Article: Use a format that tells the reader what you are summarizing and gives the name of the author and title of the work. For example:
- In “title” by author (first and last name) the reader learns...In your summary, give the main point of the work. Be sure to explain the original audience and when it was published. Tell what the author wants the reader to believe, think, or do.
- Finish your summary with your Response Thesis. What is your response to this article?
Body (three or more paragraphs)
- three or more parts of your response
- three or more reasons for your response
Conclusion (one paragraph) choose one or more of the following:
- Return to finish the story in your introduction.
- Compare your response to the intended audience.
- Give a final idea.
- Tell the audience what to think, do, or believe.
Summary vs. Response
What is the main idea?
What do you think of the main idea? Do you agree or disagree or both?
What reasons does the author give for believing the main idea?
Are these reasons valid?
How would you give the ideas of the article in your own words?
How does your experience relate to the article?
What examples does the author give?
Are these examples interesting and persuasive to you? To the original audience?
Who was the original audience?
How are you different than the original audience? Do you react differently because of that difference?
When was the article published?
Have there been events or changes that make us look at the subject differently?
What current events or situations prompted the author to write this article?
Are there current events or situations that make you reflect on the meaning of this subject either in the same way or differently from the author?
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 05, 2018:
Hi Dina--I am from California too, although I've not lived there in a long time. However, I visit there often to see family. I'm glad I can help you!
Dina AH from United States on July 05, 2018:
Virginia, this is such a wonderful and accessible hub! I have officially followed your hub pages and I cannot wait to learn more. I used to teach writing as well, but I still found it very helpful to revisit how editing works. I haven't been part of academia in so long. Thank you for writing such easy-to-understand hubs. So nice to meet you!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 07, 2012:
Glad to know I helped donnah. I have lots of other writing materials for English which I've published for people just like you. I know that a lot of times people are assigned to teach English who haven't had much help in getting the class put together. I've been teaching these courses for 20 years using five different textbooks. I try to put together the best I've developed over the years.
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on September 07, 2012:
I am teaching a section of Eng 101 and 102 for the first time this year. It is offered at our HS through the local community college. Your outline above is very helpful, as I need to put together a peer editing worksheet and directions this weekend for my class. I will reading your reader's response hub too. Voted up and shared.
Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on September 07, 2012:
This is a great hub, reminding me how I can help my children with some of their papers as they get older. Thanks for sharing it, I am likely to come back a few times to this one. Voted up and useful.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 07, 2012:
Seeker7, you are so right that we really need to not be afraid to get the opinions of other people. Part of getting to be a better writer is letting go of the idea that "this is my best work," or "this piece of writing is part of me and if you criticize it, you are criticizing me." As any writer who works hard at the profession knows, all pieces of writing need work. Sometimes even ones that have already been published!
Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on September 07, 2012:
I really enjoyed this hub and the concept of peer editing is an excellent one. If people get over the hurdle of not giving positive criticism in case it offends, then these techniques can be invaluable for everyone involved. They are also very liberating both in releasing creative juices and general outlook.
Voted up + shared