A Tool for Teaching Text Structures and Revision by Melissa Stewart

Back in 2013, when No Monkeys, No Chocolate was published, I created this Revision Timeline. Educators love it because in just 15 minutes students can watch the videos and see for themselves how much a professional writer revises.


Students can also view three rejected manuscripts and do a text-to-text comparison. What they’ll discover is that very little of the initial draft remains in the final manuscript. Revision is about making big changes, not just fixing punctuation and spelling.


But during school visits, kids kept asking me the same question. Exactly how much time did I spend revising the book? It’s a good question, but unfortunately, I couldn’t answer it. I hadn’t kept track.


But for my new book, Can an Aardvark Bark?, I did. And so I created this new timeline. The 8 videos (which take about 11 minutes to watch) and 5 downloadable manuscripts provide a detailed look at the 4-year writing and revising process prior to selling the manuscript to a publisher.


The timeline shows exactly how much time I spent:

–at the keyboard, experimenting with 4 text structures (44 weeks, or about 10 months)

–“chilling out” (82 weeks, or about 1 year and 7 months)

–waiting to hear back from editors (83 weeks, or about 1 year and 7 months)


I hope you’ll find it useful.

Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children, including Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins; No Monkeys, No Chocolate, illustrated by Nicole Wong; and Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. She is the co-author, with Nancy Chesley, of Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2 and Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, Grades 3-5. Melissa’s highly-regarded website features a rich array of educational resources for teaching nonfiction reading and writing. www.melissa-stewart.com