Erin O'Donnell
  This is the third lesson in a three-part unit consisting of: (1) Understanding the news (2) Writing an article for a class newsletter (3) Proofreading and revising articles for a class newsletter

  Adult basic education, Critical thinking, Employability, General education development (GED), Job skills, Learner produced materials, Listening skills, Problem solving, Reading comprehension, Technology, Vocabulary development, Writing skills

Learner Level:
  ABE to post high school

Time Frame:
  Several class sessions

Learner Grouping:
  Small group

  An adult learning center


  Frankfort/Franklin County Community Education

Type of Program:

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills (grade levels 5-8.9)

Proofreading and revising articles for a class newsletter

Learners submit their newsletter articles and a newsletter team proofreads them. Revisions are suggested. Writers revise their articles. Using a template from a word processing program, articles are typed in final form. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Learners will be able use teamwork skills to proofread newsletter articles effectively and make constructive suggestions for their improvement.

Primary Skill:
Convey ideas in writing

Secondary Skills:
Cooperate with others, Observe critically, Read with understanding

Learner Needs & Goals:
Students need to improve their writing for work.

Learning Activity Description:
Part One
1. Discuss with the learners why revision is an important step in the writing process. Mention that authors and journalists expect suggestions for revision. Talk about the difference between revision and proofreading.

2. Distribute the following checklist for revising and proofreading:

Revising/Proofreading Checklist


  • Does the first paragraph of a hard news story have the main idea?
  • Are the 5 Ws and the H in a news story (who, what, when, where, why, how) included?
  • Is there any additional information about the subject that should be included?
  • Is there any part of the story that is repetitive or unnecessary that
  • could be deleted?
  • Is the writing clear enough for you to understand?


  • Is the first word of each sentence capitalized?
  • Are proper nouns and adjectives capitalized?
  • Is the pronoun "I" capitalized?
  • Is the first word of a direct quote capitalized?
  • Are the first word and all other important words of titles capitalized?


  • Do sentences that make a statement end with a period?
  • Do sentences that ask questions end with question marks?
  • Are quotation marks on either side of the exact words of a speaker?
  • Are apostrophes used correctly?
    • added before the "s" to show possession by someone or something (Bill's mother, Pamela's dog, children's party)
    • added after the "s" if the word already ends in an "s" (the five students' GED scores, Dr. Jones' office, my two dogs' vet appointments)
    • used to show where letters are left out of contractions (it is = it's, are not = aren't, they are = they're, was not = wasn't)
    • Are commas used correctly?
    • separate items in a series?
    • separate the city from the state?
    • separate two independent clauses (ones that could stand as sentences alone) that are joined by the B.O.Y.F.A.N.S.-but, or, yet, for, and, nor, so?
    • set off an introductory phrase from the rest of the sentence?
    • set off a name or term used to address someone directly?

Sentence Structure

  • Do all sentences have a complete thought?
  • Are there any sentence fragments?
  • Are there any run-on sentences?
  • Does a sentence with a singular subject have a singular verb?
  • Does a sentence with a plural subject have a plural verb?

Spelling and Word Usage

  • Are any words misspelled?
  • Check words to watch out for, ones that sound alike but have different meanings (their, there, they're; two, to, two; then, than; led, lead)

3. Emphasize that spellcheck is not reliable. Distribute the following poem to learners and ask them if they notice any spelling errors. After the errors have been corrected, ask the class why the spellcheck would not catch the errors in this poem.

I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC
It plainly marks for my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea
I've run this poem threw it
And I'm sure you're pleased too no
The spellings letter perfect
My checker tolled me sew

4. Distribute a draft of each person's article to everyone in the class. Ask the learners to use the checklist with each article. Tell learners that they should also write down any questions they have about the articles. Suggestions and corrections are then returned to the author. Have the class set a deadline for revisions.

Part Two
1. After the learners have revised their first drafts, repeat the process of distributing the articles for suggestions and corrections. The authors of the stories will incorporate these ideas into the final version that will be proofread again.

2. Show the class a newspaper and ask them which articles are most important. Have them relate the articles' importance to their placement in the page layout. Select priorities for placement of newsletter articles. Traditionally the most important news would go in the upper left corner, with a feature story opposite, followed by other news, and announcements. Make assignments for typing articles into the newsletter template. Also, assign learners to proofread the final newsletter copy before reproduction and distribution.

Materials and Resources:

  • A word processing program with a newsletter template
  • A proof reading checklist


Monitor the learners as they revise and proof read to see if they demonstrate the following:

  • Learners gain the interpersonal skills necessary to accept and make suggestions about each other's work
  • Learners build a team approach to achieve an objective
  • Learners can proofread writing
  • Learners can make judgements about priorities for article placement
  • Learners can organize and write a news article
  • Learners can recognize business writing

Have more practice prior to the class session on details of punctuation and sentence.


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