Reading as Proofreading

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to review your own work is to read it aloud. This helps with low stakes and high stakes concerns; everything from punctuation and grammar, to organization, tone, and coherence, because it makes you the reader.

Go somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed and read the work paragraph by paragraph, section by section, or sentence by sentence. (Haven’t you ever spoken a sentence out loud to see how it “feels?” Same thing.)

Don’t record yourself—no one likes the sound of their own voice. Don’t look in the mirror; you’ll be distracted.

An alternative is to ask a peer to read it aloud to you. This is another way to make yourself the audience. Take notes as you listen.

When you’ve written something, and looked at it over and over, and read it inside your head, your brain “fixes” everything. It feels right because it is so familiar. Reading aloud puts distance between you and the text, creating a space for objectivity.

Try it. Trust us, it works.