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Volume 22, Issue 4 (1993)

Contributions of Developmental Psychology to Understanding Revision: Implications for Consultation With Classroom Teachers

pp. 643—655

Revision is an important component of the writing process, but many young writers find it difficult to make effective revisions to their work. The goal of this article is to review research from developmental psychology that has analyzed the nature of typical children’s difficulties with the revision process during the elementary school years. Specifically, studies relying on the “error detection paradigm,” in which children are asked to review prepared texts containing embedded errors, have revealed that children tend to overestimate their own and others’ comprehension of text, and that as a consequence of this tendency they do not identify the specific areas of the text that could benefit from revision. However, additional studies have found that once children have identified a potential problem for the reader they are generally able to revise the text successfully. In addition, training in strategies designed to encourage children to evaluate the comprehensibility of the text also has been found to enhance their ability to revise. Although this research has been conducted with typical students, the results have implications for the assessment and instruction of students with writing difficulties.

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