Peer Editing - What you need to know

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Peer Edit with Perfection! handout

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Peer Editing Worksheet

When You are the Reader
  • Always read through a piece twice. First time reading through  you get familiar with the piece. Your second reading try to understand what is being said and how. Ask questions of the writer if you don't quite get what they are writing.
  • Take the role of the intended reader. What writers need most is the truth. Writer's want someone who is reading for content not for errors. The most valuable editing advice concerns content, organization and style. If your only comments are about punctuation, mechanics or spelling  then you are not 'showing' the writer how to engage a reader. Think like a reader.
  • Avoid "fixing" the problem. Do not take on the writer's work as your own. Your role as peer editor is to bring problems to the writer's attention.  The biggest help you can offer is to point out what works and doesn't work for you as a reader.
  • Be specific, honest and constructive. Start by telling the writer what you like and then mention what doesn't work. Try something like; "I wasn't clear about what this sentence meant. "Wherever you can, say why you found that something worked or didn't work.

When you are the writer

  • Listen with both ears and not your heart.
  • Never argue, but answer questions you are directly asked. Don't defend your work.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand what the editor suggests. Use specific words that don't have underlying meaning.
  • It is up to you to ignore the advice or use it to improve your writing.

Use these questions to help you edit.