Drafting should really be a process of evolving and changing writing, not simply ‘fixing’ spelling mistakes and punctuation. However, once students have written a first draft of anything, it can become a template that is set in stone. Any second or third draft they do can look incredibly like their original draft. A simple trick you can use to get students to engage in revision that actually shifts or evolves their writing is look, cover, re-rewrite drafting. This drafting process involves students re-writing a section of a piece with limited reference to the original. This means they are forced to jettison the template of their original and actually do something new. Here are four ways students can engage in look, cover, re-write drafting:
- Read through one paragraph (like the opening), put the draft away and then re-write that paragraph. The aim is not to re-create it exactly, but to take the opportunity of writing a new version of that paragraph.
- Choose one paragraph and a sentence they like most from the paragraph. Write out that sentence on a new piece of paper, put their draft away and write a whole new paragraph beginning with that sentence they like most.
- Choose one paragraph and write out the last sentence of that paragraph on a new piece of paper. Put their original draft away and write a paragraph continuing on from that last sentence.
- Choose one paragraph and circle all the sentence starts in that paragraph. List the words or phrases that are used to start each sentence on a new piece of paper. Put the original draft away and re-write that paragraph without using any of the original sentence starts.