Taste Testing Your Writing: A Fresh Take on Editing!

Have you ever watched one of those cooking competitions on television?... Chopped? Iron Chef? Cupcake Wars? Top Chef? Watching one of those shows gives you a glimpse of what happens "behind the scenes" of a real restaurant--with a bit more drama mixed in, of course.

One thing that sticks out to me when watching the chefs on those shows is that they always taste their food before sending it out to whoever is going to eat and judge it. They might adjust the seasoning, add a bit more sauce, or even wipe the edges of the plate clean!

Isn't that what we want from our young writers when it comes to the editing step of the writing process?
I've started using this chef analogy with my students when we are working on our editing. First I talk to students about how important it is for a chef to know exactly what she is serving to her customer. To do this she must taste test her food. The last thing a chef would want is to send a plate of food to a customer with no idea if it tastes good or not. She may think it's delicious, but by taste-testing it, she can make sure it is just right.

Then I tell students just how similar this is to editing our writing. We might think our story makes perfect sense and is correct in every way, but how do we know for sure unless we taste test our writing--we need to reread it and edit! Does every single word and sentence make sense? How about our capital letters, endmarks, and spelling?

Particularly during prompt-writing on state-testing, where students normally do not write a final draft, editing is one of the last chances for students to touch their work--to make it just right before sending it on its way to their "customer."

Try having your students taste test their writing. And if you want, click the image above for a free resource to help you get started!