Does your child struggle to catch their own grammatical errors in their writing? They may have combed through a draft but still failed to detect every “th” that should read “the.” This isn’t a result of carelessness at all; in fact, it’s very common. When we read something we’ve written to ourselves, our minds tend to miss skipped words or misspellings and automatically fill in the blanks with the correct phrases or grammar patterns. It’s often because we’re so familiar with our topic and so fully immersed brain-wise, that we see the meaning we meant to convey and take for granted that we were clear.
More Than Proof Reading
Students often make this mistake when they read their work to themselves in their mind, so having them read their writing out loud or have a parent or friend read over their work helps them catch these common mistakes. When you read your child’s work, you’re coming at it fresh and you’re unfamiliar with the piece, so it’s easier for you to notice mistakes. Similarly, when your child presents their writing out loud in the class, they’re more likely to notice errors because it takes more time to say something out loud than it does to process it in when they read content to ourselves. They’re taking the time to verbally process what they’ve already mentally processed. This ensures their quick brain doesn’t assume or presume, but that they actually detect and correct their work thoroughly.
Peer Edits Make a Difference
Another key benefit to reading work in front of a class is the constructive feedback students receive afterwards. A classmate may ask your child a question that they took for granted as obvious by their writing. Again, their own familiarity can blind them. Likewise, when your child offers feedback to someone else, encourage them to pose questions instead of merely saying “I don't understand.” Specific feedback like that is more helpful. For example, "You jumped from skiing to pop-sicles abruptly," helps a writer revise more than a generalized "This is bad" critique. We’re all in murky waters when it comes to seeing our own writing and quality critiquing gives us goggles of insight. Encourage your child to get in the habit of reading anything they write out loud. Honing this habit now will make all the difference when they write cover letters, resumes, and job applications in the future.