Has your teacher uttered words you were dreading to hear? "It is time to write a report!" Or, maybe you like report writing, but you are staring at a blank page and do not know where to begin. Report writing can be tackled by following the six steps of the Writing Process, which are simply steps to guide you through choosing a topic, to proofreading and editing the final product.
Prewriting, also called by some the "invention" stage, is the step in the report-writing process where you choose your topic. This important step is what gets you off that blank page and on your way to writing. Prewriting consists of brainstorming, which is simply thinking of, and listing, possible ideas. Professional writers know that choosing a "good" topic comes from writing about what interests you. Some teachers may require you to make an outline and do research at this step.
Drafting is the stage where you take a deep breath and get your words onto your paper. It shouldn't be so difficult if you completed the prewriting step and chose a topic that interests you. At this stage of writing, form, grammar and spelling do not count. After the draft is completed, you can go back and make the necessary changes. Drafting is simply making a draft, or "sloppy copy," of your report and getting the information down in paragraph form.
Sharing is the stage when writers get feedback from others. Teachers do not always require this step. However, if your teacher does not give you the opportunity to share in class, you should share with friends and adults to get feedback (What is good? What can be done better?) and to get encouragement. This step was meant to help you develop your writing and make your report stronger. It can be hard to share, but your writing will be better for it. Great ideas can come from this step.
Revising, which comes from the word "revision," meaning "to see again," is the stage where you go back to your writing and take to heart the feedback you got during the sharing stage. Here you look at your report again to see where you can improve and build, where you can add information or take something away.
Editing is the time to look at your sentences with a magnifying glass. You will deal with conventions here: spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage. During the editing stage, you should no longer be moving sentences and paragraphs around, or adding or deleting information. If you find yourself doing this, you need to go back to revising. Editing is like polishing chrome until it is shiny. Do not hesitate to ask for a second, or even third, pair of eyes here; you want others to look at your work and help you find errors. Professional writers need editors to help them find their mistakes too!
Now it is time for your writing to shine. Your audience, or your "public" (like the word "publish"), is ready to read and enjoy your work. Here is where you share your research and information with others and let them learn from it. While your work may only be intended for the classroom, take pride in your writing and share it with those who helped you through the writing process.
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