Literacy Peer Editing Guidelines


For this round of peer editing we’re going to use a checklist instead of an actual handout. Follow the guidelines below and place your feedback directly on the writer’s essay.

Get Familiar with the Essay’s Ideas:

  1. Read the essay to gain a basic understanding of the writer’s argument and to mark any grammar, spelling, or word choice errors, as well as looking for awkward phrasing and structural errors.

Elements of the Introduction & Interconnections:

Next, look closely at the writer’s thesis. Number the reasons the writer presents.

  • The thesis should be in the basic format: (Claim restated from prompt + Reasons.)

Then, read the topic sentence of each body paragraph to make sure the sequence of reasons in the thesis matches the sequence of the focal points in each topic sentence. The order of the reasons in the thesis should be chronological or in a cause-effect pattern.

  • For example, knowledge and understanding must come before a person can logically enter an informed conversation.

Next, Read the first sentence of the introduction & the first sentence of the conclusion. Make sure they demonstrate thematic similarity, and that the first sentence in the conclusion is a more detailed version of the opening sentence in the essay.

Elements of Body Paragraphs 

First, box sentences that introduce evidence, cite evidence, or paraphrase evidence. You should look for strong verbs before quoted evidence which captures the author’s assertion. Following the text evidence, look for a specific reference to the evidence and another strong verb that introduces a summary of the author’s assertion in the quote.

Next, underline the transition language the author uses to move from the source’s assertion to their own.

  • These are phrases such as: the author makes a valid point that; the author makes a good point, but overlooks; the author is misguided in his assertion that….
  • This is language found in the right hand column of the T-chart in your notebook.

Also in this section, highlight evidence the author uses in response to the source’s assertion in the quote. This evidence could be personal or from the writer’s knowledge of history and other relevant topics. This should be the largest section of the paragraph because it is where the writer should be developing his/her argument in response to the source.

Finally, draw a vertical line in the margin next to language that returns the author’s evidence and response to the source back to the overall issue and the author’s claim. This should be done after every section of evidence in response to a source.

*At this point, the writer should either transition to a new piece of related evidence or to a new focal point in the next paragraph

A Final Look:

Look at the final sentences in the essay. They should be elegant, directly stated, and address why the audience should pay attention to the power of literacy. This can be an extension of the writer’s opening statement or move away from it. No matter what, this language needs to be used to inspire the audience to act on the writer’s argument.

Works Cited page should include all sources cited inside the essay, including sources in addition to the four authors we read in class.

  • Alpha order, hanging indent, Works Cited (centered at top), and uniform double spacing are standard format expectations.

At last, flip the essay over and provide the writer with a score from 1-9 off the writing rubric and provide them with a clear explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of their essay based on the language from the rubric.

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