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When you come in to the MAX Center to work with a writing tutor, you can work on any point
in the writing process from looking at your assignment sheet to reading the final draft just before

While the writing tutors are not proofreaders, they will go through your paper with you, looking
for patterns of errors. They will then offer suggestions for correcting the errors.

Steps in the Writing Process


Planning, exploring, organizing information

  • ·What to do:
    Discuss, brainstorm, freewrite, collect, list, select
  • What the tutor will do:
    Question, reflect or mirror, suggest, support
  • Planning to write:
    Identify audience and purpose.
    Use the assignment sheet from the class.
    Keep in touch with the professor.
    Draw a map or write a list (an outline at this point might be too formal).
    Write a tentative thesis for guidance and focus.


Drafting, composing information into written form

  • What to do:
    Use your map or list or other prewriting materials.
    Write body of paper.
    Adjust the thesis statement to match the body.
    Write introduction and conclusion.
    Write an outline in order to check your organization.
    (These points can be followed in the order that works best for you.)
  • What the tutor will do:
    Question, reflect or mirror, offer suggestions and opinions

Once you have a full draft, let the paper sit for a day or two before going back to it so that you
can read it with a fresh eye. Consider asking others to read your draft for you to check for clarity
and comprehensiveness.


Reworking into a finished presentation

  • What to do:
    1. Look at the big picture:
    Content: Check the development of the thesis. Do you follow through on the
    main idea? Do you support the claims you make in the paper? Do you use
    transitions to tie the main ideas together? Is all of the information relevant?
    Don’t be afraid to throw out anything that doesn’t support the thesis.
    Organization: Adjust your scheme or format to fit the needs of your specific
    Tone: Read the paper aloud. Will your audience respond well to your
    information? Have you adopted an appropriate level of formality?
    2. Look at the sentence level:
    Read carefully, preferably aloud
    Consider each paragraph, then each sentence, then each word. Concentrate on a
    small section at a time.
    Vary sentence structure.
    Check for wordiness.
  • What the tutor will do:
    Help in reading; point out kinds of problems; question, mirror, or reflect; offer
    opinions and suggestions; demonstrate techniques for improvement.


Self-monitoring check, reviewing success of the project

  • What to do:
    Read the paper aloud to yourself or to someone else; have someone read it to you;
    or tape record it and listen to it.
    Read backwards one sentence at a time.
    Read backwards one word at a time.
  • What the tutor will do:
    Help in reading, point out kinds of errors; question, mirror, and reflect;
    demonstrate techniques for correction

Print final copy and read it carefully before turning it in.

Use word processing; it allows you to write quickly and legibly so that you can get your ideas
down without worrying about grammar and mechanics. Word processing allows you to avoid
recopying, makes revision easier for you, and allows you access to spell checkers.