4 Easy Tips to Teach Editing the using COPS Strategy

Do your students groan when you tell them it's time to edit their writing? With the COPS strategy, editing becomes a fun and engaging task. This strategy will help your students catch mistakes in their writing and make corrections. Teach ‘Edit with the COPS' strategy and your students will write like pros in no time!

Editing is the last step in the Writing Process Framework before students publish.

So if you are tired of reminding your students to edit their writing, I suggest you teach them to edit their writing with the COPS strategy!

COPS is an acronym that stands for:

  • Capitalization
  • Organization
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

You can see on the bookmark below how each letter in COPS reminds us of an important editing skill.

Teaching students these four editing skills will make them better equipped and motivated to edit their writing for errors.

COPS Editing Strategy: Capitalization

“I can use capitals when needed.”

The first time your students read through their work they will focus on making sure there is correct capitalization.

Questions for students to ask themselves:

  • Is the first word of every sentence capitalized?
  • Are proper nouns capitalized?
  • Is the word “I” capitalized?
  • Are there other words that I have capitalized that I shouldn’t?

 

Students should first identify the beginning of a new sentence, name, or place to edit for capitalization. They should then capitalize the first letter of that word. For example, if the sentence is “I went to the store,” the word “I” should be capitalized.

Common words that are often forgotten to be capitalized include proper nouns (names of people, places, and things), the first word of a sentence, and titles of books, movies, etc.

COPS Editing Strategy: Organization

“I can organize my writing and make it easy to read.”

The organization is also important in writing. It helps to make your writing easy to read and understand. The COPS method can help students edit their work for an organization.

The second time they read through their writing, they should focus on making sure it is readable, makes sense, and looks good.

Questions for students to ask themselves:

  • Does it make sense?
  • Does it look neat?
  • Is there enough or too much space between words?
  • Did I use complete sentences?

COPS Editing Strategy: Punctuation

“I can use correct punctuation.”

Punctuation is another important part of writing. It helps to make your writing look more professional and organized. The COPS method can help students edit their work for punctuation.

The third time students read through their writing they focus on the punctuation.

Questions for students to ask themselves:

  • Is there punctuation at the end of every sentence?
  • Does the punctuation I used make sense?
  • Do I use other punctuation, such as quotation marks, correctly? 

COPS Editing Strategy: Spelling

“I can spell words correctly.”

The third time they are reading through their work they will focus on making sure there is correct punctuation.

Questions for students to ask themselves:

  • Is there punctuation at the end of every sentence?
  • Does the punctuation I used make sense?
  • Do I use other punctuation, such as quotation marks, correctly? 
 
By teaching students the COPS strategy, they will be better equipped to edit their writing for errors. This strategy will help them become better writers overall.

I love this strategy so much, that I created an Edit Writing with COPS Toolkit for you. Just fill out the form below and I will send it to you!

This Toolkit is taken from a larger unit that contains even more resources to help you teach this important strategy.  Just click on the picture below to see more of it.

What other strategies do you use to help your students edit their writing?

Share in the comments below!

Happy Teaching,

Peggy

Welcome

My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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