by Jessica Messerer-Trosin
One of the most important aspects of writing—some would argue the most important aspect—is revision. With revision comes the improvement of clarity, the discovery of grammatical errors, and the growth of your entire essay.
One easy, effective (and often neglected) strategy for revision is reading your paper out loud.
When you read your paper in your mind, it’s easy to skim over the words and read the words as you think they should sound rather than how they actually sound.
Reading out loud is great for finding grammatical errors, e.g., wrong verb tenses or forgotten words. Saying the words out loud will slow down the pace of your reading and enable you to hear the flow of your writing.
As you read, do the words have rhythm or was there a sentence that seemed awkward and caused you to stumble? Was there a wide variety of words or was the same word used too frequently in the same sentence or paragraph?
If you’re ready to take this one step further, find a partner to read with. Either read your paper to them, have them read it to you, or do a combination of both. Using this strategy, you can read the whole paper at once, or paragraph by paragraph, depending on how closely you want to examine your work.
Sharing your work with your peers can feel daunting at first, but with repeated practice you will discover that it can be an effective strategy for revision.
Encourage and give praise where it is due; at the same time, don’t hold back if you think there is something that needs to be adjusted. You are there to help each other and to make your writing stronger.
As with anything, give yourself lots of time to revise your paper. The more often you do it—leaving yourself time between revisions—the more you will notice things than can be improved.