I have offered different tools in past weeks that can help students with the revision and editing parts of the writing process. SAS Writing Reviser is another tool to further help students in these areas. Like other technology tools, it can be beneficial for teachers to present a variety of options and have the students select the one that is best for them.
SAS Writing Reviser, a Google Docs add-on, is a free resource from Curriculum Pathways. Once the add-on has been added from the Chrome Web Store, users need to open their Google Doc and select “Add-ons” from the toolbar. Click “SAS Writing Reviser” and then “Open Writing Reviser” in order to activate the tool. The first time around, users will be prompted to create an account and select their role in the classroom: student or teacher.
After the add-on has been activated and the account has been created, users are met with five areas to edit their writing: Sentence Economy, Sentence Variety, Sentence Power, Sentence Clarity, and Support Tools. Each area has subcategories that users can choose. Sentence Economy focuses on making the writing more economical while Sentence Variety focuses on how to mix up sentences to make writing more interesting. Sentence Power emphasizes strong word choice and Sentence Clarity works on making sure all the writing is understandable. The Support Tools focus on the statistics of the document, such as statistics, bar graphs, and a sentence list. When selected, the add-on will run through the Google Doc and highlight areas of concern.
For example, if a user is making revisions to their work and wanted to find a way to make their writing more concise, they would select the “Sentence Economy” tab on the add-on. They would be prompted to choose from several subcategories, including wordiness, prepositional phrases, passive voice, relative clauses, and repeated words. The user would then click on the subcategory that best fits their needs. The add-on would go through the Doc, searching for evidence of each subcategory. Once finished, all of the evidence would be highlighted in blue. In the case of prepositional phrases, the add-on would turn any prepositional phrases blue so the user could see them easily against the rest of their text.
In addition to the add-on automatically highlighting the area selected by the user, it also provides guidelines for how to properly edit their work. For most of the subcategories, a blue button can be found near the top of the sidebar. When clicked, it provides students with an explanation of the category to enhance their understanding or help them review concepts. In this example, guidelines for strong and weak verbs can be found. Users will receive a popup window with this information when they click the blue button in the sidebar to learn more about that revision area.
In some cases, such as the “Strong Verbs” category, users get to read different examples in order to properly revise their own writing. In other cases, strategies for revision can be provided. In the instance of “Run-On Sentences,” among other categories, users will receive a breakdown of how to grammatically fix their errors.
In addition to the blue button, users receive a set of directions to make the revision process easier and help guide them through the steps. There are a series of questions for users to ask themselves when making revisions. They can choose to leave their sentences as they were originally written or go into their paragraphs to make corrections.
Once the user has made all of their revisions for the subcategory, they need to select the “Back” button on the sidebar. This selection will bring the user back to the main page with the five main areas. It will also remove all the blue highlighting while still maintaining the edits made.
With five areas of focus and twenty-five subcategories to consider, SAS Writing Reviser is definitely an add-on to give to students for the revising and editing process. The fact that it allows students to consider one area of revision at a time helps with focus, which people often lack when fixing their writing. In addition, the built-in support system that provides students with mini-lessons, review opportunities, and questions to consider when revising makes the add-on very user-friendly and helpful for all learners.