Last Tuesday, I typed my draft of a first time story. This week, I spent time revising and reflecting on how I went about revising. If I “get” what I do, then I feel more confident to teach my students how to revise.
REVISIONS: As I revised, I tried to do these things -
1. I looked at my lead and checked to see if it told WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY.
2. I looked at the heart of the story – the part where I was reading – and made sure it was stretched out.
3. I looked at my ending and made sure it had a feeling that connected back to the beginning.
4. I also noticed that I drafted using very long sentences. I tried out changing the length of some of my sentences.
First Time Reading at Church by Mrs. Donnelly
As the congregation sat down, it was my cue to walk onto the altar. My third grade teacher had picked me to be a lector for the school Mass, a job I had never done before. I heard a loud echo with each step I took, as my church shoes touched the marble floor of the St. James Church. Once at the podium, I climbed to the second step of the step stool. Now I could see the large book and my mouth was close to the microphone.
I saw placed on top of the opened book, a xeroxed copy of my reading, a reading I had been practicing with my teacher for the past two weeks. I saw the many slanted lines my teacher had added to help me chunk the word phrases. I saw the punctuation highlighted at the end of each sentence. I cleared my throat and began. Even though I could probably recite the reading now from memory, I kept my eyes glued to the page, not looking up once. I didn’t want to see how many people were sitting in church and how many were now listening to me.
In a loud voice, I said, "A Reading (pause) from the Book (pause) of Genesis". As I continued, I remembered to pause longer at each highlighted punctuation mark. I remembered to also pause at each slash mark made by my teacher - a slash about every 4-6 words. "Scoop up a whole phrase and say it in one breath," she coached me. "It will sound funny to you to go so slow, but it will sound clearer through the microphone."
The next thing I knew, I was reading the last phrase, "This is the word of the Lord” and the congregation replied, "Thanks be to God." I stepped down from the step stool and slowly walked back to my pew.
As I walked, I saw her - my teacher. She was motioning a thumbs-up and had a big smile on her face. I breathed in and out and smiled widely, too. I took my seat in my pew relieved that my reading was over and content that all my preparation, with my teacher's help, had paid off.
Friday is our publishing party and I plan to display my story, too!