Editing Practice that Sticks: Checklists and Exercises for Building Student Editors

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Note: This digital product is by Doug Stark. Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches down the hallway from Doug and can't imagine teaching an English course without Doug's work, is acting as the publisher.

Welcome to Editing Practice that Sticks, a new series of exercises for helping students to understand the principles and conventions sound writing and apply that understanding to self- and peer-editing work. Just like the bestselling Mechanics Instruction that Sticks series, this product uses learning science principles to help students master and apply writing knowledge without overstressing them or you.

Perhaps the best way to understand what Editing Practice that Sticks offers is to take a look at author Doug Stark's "Eight Tips for Using Editing Practice that Sticks." These tips give you a glimpse into the pragmatic, clear-thinking mind of a teacher who has guided thousands of students in his career to clearer, sounder writing and editing. You can read that tips article, for free, right here

Once you purchase EPTS, that tips article will be right there in the introduction for you. Be sure to read it! For EPTS to work well for you and your students, it must be the furthest thing from a set of keep-'em-busy worksheets.

Editing Practice that Sticks: Punctuation

EPTS: Punctuation is designed to teach your students the fundamental knowledge for conventional punctuation and how to put that knowledge into practice when editing their own or a peer's work. There are six sequential units plus two stand-alone units that can be introduced and used at any point in a school year:

  • Unit 1 -- Sentence Elements
  • Unit 2 -- Avoiding Sentence Fragments
  • Unit 3 -- Avoiding Run-on Sentences
  • Unit 4 -- Commas
  • Unit 5 -- Semicolons and Colons
  • Unit 6 -- Dashes
  • Stand-alone Unit: Apostrophes
  • Stand-alone Unit: Punctuation Review

Editing Practice that Sticks: Clarity & Usage

EPTS: Clarity & Usage is designed to teach your students the fundamental knowledge for improving the style of their writing. This is often a difficult set of concepts to master, but as you would expect from a Doug Stark publication, these exercises make the vague understandable and the confusing clear.

  • Unit 1 -- Using Active Voice
  • Unit 2 -- Avoiding Wordiness
  • Unit 3 -- Avoiding Awkward Constructions
  • Unit 4 -- Problems with Clarity and Usage
  • Unit 5 -- Parallelism
  • Unit 6 -- Logical Constructions
  • Stand-alone Unit: Problems with Agreement
  • Stand-alone Unit: Commonly Confused Words

Common Questions

Will EPTS work for my grade level of students?

Unlike Mechanics Instruction that Sticks, which is organized by four levels of instruction, EPTS is designed for use with students grades 7-12. With that said, we have heard from colleagues using Doug's products for younger students -- grades 4-6 -- and for older students -- college or adult-ed.

How can EPTS be used during distance teaching?

We are two teachers, not web developers, and as such we have no plans to turn these into software or editable online documents. We offer one helpful resource with how we're making this transition and one request:

  • the resource: In this article, Doug explains in writing and over video how to use his products when working with students remotely
  • the request: To product Doug's intellectual property, we ask that you not post EPTS in publicly searchable venues. Google Classroom or Canvas is great, so long as you're not making these things searchable to other teachers who have not purchased EPTS.

What have other teachers said about Doug's work?

"We love your material! I've introduced it to many other teachers in our district, and they absolutely love it also. It's hard to find something that all teachers agree on, but those that I work with agree that MITS is wonderful!"

--Melissa from Utah

"It covers the skills my kids need to prepare for the SAT. It's adaptable – I can control the pacing of notes and practice. It's CORRECT – many programs are not. The grammar instruction applies to punctuation use immediately. I love it. It's the closest thing to what I'd develop myself if I had the time."

--Rachel from Idaho

"My kids are taking ACT prep tests and have said how much this methodical study of the language conventions has helped get higher scores... [I]t's been fun to see them actually like doing this work – they see the payoff... I've seen good growth in their writing as they have learned to proofread better; they have a firmer idea of what to look for."

--Rho from Ohio

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart... because this is exactly what I've been looking for... I have never put it all together as neatly and succinctly as [this]. Thank you for making this available to us. I shared the work with the LA teacher on the other team, and she almost immediately downloaded the book as well!"

--Maura from Virginia

"These exercises are perfect to help students who haven't been exposed to any significant mechanics instruction since grade school. The repetition of key ideas works very well."

--Kris from Montana

"I purchased Doug's book and just looking at it, I am hearing angels in the background. This is exactly what I was looking for!"

--Karri from Oregon

"I loved reading Doug's process of making these and then teaching and refining them."

-- Kim from Michigan

"Our whole department has been using it for the past nine weeks, and I think it's the perfect amount of time on each topic"


"I have loved this program. The explanations and repetition help the kids. I have shared my excitement with this program with many colleagues. Thank you."


"It is sticking! My students do not complain about all of the repetition – in fact, it is helping many of my struggling students feel very successful."


"I love the progression of the skills; the lessons are as my adult education students put it "bite size". It's easy to incorporate the sentence structure into their assignment. The unit opener page is an easy reference that is simple for them to use and is not middle school-ish."

--Anonymous adult ed teacher

What if I want copies of this for a large group of teachers?

While we love when teacher teams unite around our products, we don't have the staffing to field or fulfill bulk pricing inquiries. However, we think we've priced the product affordably -- $20 for 1 teacher to use 1 version of EPTS with unlimited students, $30 for 1 teacher to use both versions of EPTS with unlimited students.

Do you accept purchase orders?

Yes. Start the process by emailing me at support_at_davestuartjr.com.

How do I use the exercises?

On Dave's blog, we have published Eight Tips for Using Editing Practice that Sticks. Click here. We recommend reading that very closely. 

When do you have time to put these together?

Our school has a policy for research and publishing that we comply with. This is why Doug puts these together during the summertime from the comfort of his home during the summer months. EPTS is prepared without the use of district resources, and our district's employees get free access to any of the EPTS products.

What if I don't like it?

We have a simple guarantee policy: if you're not happy, email us (support_at_davestuartjr.com), and we'll immediately give you a refund. The Number One Thing we don't want to happen is for any teacher to feel like they did not get more than their money's worth with these warm-ups. Please: If you're not happy, send us a message.

What if it changes the course of my life and my classroom ends up being the focus of a Hollywood teacher movie?

Give Doug a line in the credits.

What if I think something should be added?

These warm-ups are what they are because Doug has tweaked them for years. With that said, we realize that we may have had blind spots in creating this digital book, so we'd be happy to hear from you. Email Doug at doug.stark1974_at_gmail.com.

What if I want to edit the exercises or the student notebook?

Although we think the warm-ups are pretty versatile as is, we've included an editable (.doc) version of the warm-ups and student notebook as well.

I want this!

You'll get PDF and DOC files of Student Notebooks, the Teacher Notebook, and "Just the Checklists," plus a brief "How to Use this Resource" video and an Answer Key.

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Editing Practice that Sticks: Checklists and Exercises for Building Student Editors

1 rating
I want this!