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Revising and editing news stories


This is a lesson to introduce rewriting and self-editing as a key to effective news writing. Students will practice writing and editing their work in addition to editing other students’ work.


  • Students will analyze the qualities of news writing to attract readers.
  • Students will write and revise their own news stories.
  • Students will critique others’ news stories based on a variety of criteria.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Four classes of 50 minutes (additional class time for writing or rewriting)


Slideshow: Revising and editing

ELL Differentiated Slideshow: Revising and editing

Handout: LQTQ

Handout: Making it better

Handout: Revising and editing student checklist

Handout: News writing rubric

Students’ first drafts of news stories assigned in Unit 4.

Lesson step-by-step

Before this lesson:  Use one of the processes outlined in Finding stories to assign a news story to each student in the class. This lesson begins on the day the first draft of their news story is due. Slides 2 and 3 of revising and editing presentation can be used as reminders for students on days when writing or drafting is taking place in the classroom.


1. Building background — 5 minutes

Give students a few minutes to locate the drafts of their news stories and answer any questions they have on their reporting. Explain that today’s lesson addresses the next step in the process to get their stories ready to publish.

2. Present — 25  minutes

Present the “making it better” process, slides 5-19 of the revising and editing slideshow. Go through this thoroughly, as it is a lot for students to take in at first. Explain that this process shows what to do when they revise, how to rewrite and make it better.

3. Self-edit

Distribute the making it better handout, which is a handout of the slides they just saw.  Provide time for students to edit their work.

3A. (OPTIONAL, possibly for a second day if time allows) Model the editing process.

If students would benefit from seeing how this process works in real time, arrange for a volunteer to allow you to edit his/her story in front of the entire class, or in front of a group that may benefit (perhaps the group that does not have a draft completed for self-editing?). Using whatever technology you have available to show the student work on a board or screen, model the entire eight-step process, making corrections and changes as you go. If you have a student editor in the class who is good at this, you can have him/her do the modeling while you work with other students on their self-editing.

4. Turn it in

Students should be required to turn in their drafts before the beginning of the class. Use whatever system works best in your classroom: Google Drive, Edmodo, a classroom server, Dropbox, email or printed hard copies.


1. Building background — 5 minutes

Give students a few minutes to locate the drafts of their news stories, or return drafts that they turned in to you. Answer any questions they have on their reporting or rewriting.

2. Activity — 30 minutes

Show students slides 21-22 of the revising and editing presentation. Ask students to edit their own stories based on the checklist and first draft rubric provided in the slideshow.

3. Turn it in

Using whatever system you have established for turning in stories, have students submit their revisions by the end of class.


1. Building background — 5 minutes

Give students a few minutes to locate the drafts of their news stories and answer any questions they have on their reporting or rewriting.

2. Pair-share — 30 minutes

Have students find a partner or assign partners. Go to slide 20 of the revising and editing (shorter) presentation. Students should use this rubric to edit their partners’ news stories. (You could also print this page as a one-page handout for students to use. A more detailed peer editing worksheet is available.)

3. Present — 10 minutes

Ask for volunteers to present work that they think is ready for publication. If desired, pass out the blank concept map as a graphic organizer for note-taking.

4. Turn it in

Peer editing sheets should be checked for completion and provided to the students for their rewrites. Next class should be the deadline for students to turn in completed rewrites for you to grade. Tell students that the worksheets from peer editing must be turned in for a grade when they turn in their final drafts.


Grade the peer editing worksheets holistically. Did the peer editors offer suggestions and find and correct mistakes?

Culminating activity assessment

Use the news writing rubric to grade a final draft of the stories, after peer editing and self editing.