Instructor models a think-aloud strategy for the introduction of a paper by describing aloud the thoughts they have during the writing process as they revise. In reading this paragraph the instructor should ask themselves what the paragraph may need to include, and then expand to demonstrate how this paragraph may fit into the body of their paper and how their topics and ideas feed into one another. Teachers may also demonstrate this on a student’s first paragraph, but should be aware of the level of criticism and implications for critiquing student work to a group of peers. Students should then turn to their own papers and think through their drafts in the same way. Encourage students to think about arrangement by imagining that their audience knows nothing about the topic. They may also want to imagine a conversation that they might have with a person about their paper. Students may want to consider the following questions: What would a reader ask you? In what order would they ask questions about your topic? How do those questions feed into later questions about the paper?
What is the Objective?
To demonstrate revision strategies that students may use in writing future drafts of their papers.
Why is This Important?
Teachers often give students a linear model for revision that implies that writing is the annotation of speech, and revision is therefore unnecessary as speech cannot be edited. Roland Barthes, however, suggests that “‘there is a fundamental tie between teaching and speech,’ while ‘writing begins at the point where speech becomes impossible’” (as cited in Sommers 2003, p. 44). Using speech as a platform for revision, teachers are able to encourage students to view the writing process as a cyclical endeavor, building off of their tendency to begin writing with speech to encourage revision.
What Do I Need?
Sommers, N. (2003). Revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers. In V. Villanueva (Ed.), Cross-talk in comp theory: A reader (2nd ed., p. 44). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.