One of the books I’m working on involves modeling samples of writing for students in grades 3-5. This week I took a couple of the one-page examples and rewrote them for grades K-2. In the spirit of “know thy audience,” try this with something you’ve written.
What happens is that our mind automatically becomes aware of how certain words, phrases, and concepts that work for a 5th grader need to be simplified, explained in the text, or dropped altogether for a kindergarten student. You may find that the new version has more words in it because of the need to explain, and that may take you over your word limit. Then you must go back through, looking for ways to trim without giving up anything that spoils the message.
I think this is a good exercise for writers of any age, including elementary and middle school students. A 5th grader might be reluctant to revise his work under normal circumstances but willingly accept the challenge of rewriting what he’s done, pretending it’s now for someone in 1st grade.
On a very happy note, our son Jeff and daughter-in-law Jennifer arrive for the holidays on Sunday evening. Can’t wait to hug them and have them with us again!