An important component of the writing process, one that often challenges students with language-based learning disabilities, is proofreading. Proofreading is an element of editing focused on the concrete skills of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure.

“Critical proofreading, or critical thought, relies on a fairly well-developed metacognitive ability which many students with language-based learning disabilities lack. The language demands involved in applying information and critically evaluating situations presents a challenge to students who lack fluent language skills.” -J. Gudaitis Tarricone

Acronyms cue students to proofread and edit elements of their writing. COPS, an example of a proofreading acronym, is presented in a checklist format below. This is a basic proofreading checklist you can incorporate in your writing instruction. Once students master the use of this proofreading checklist in class through modeling and repeated practice, they will begin to proofread more independently.      


  • Capitalization – circle all your capital letters at the beginning of sentences and for proper nouns
  • Oral Reading – read your composition aloud or have someone else read it to you
  • Punctuation – circle all your end punctuation
  • Spelling – highlight any words that you think may be spelled incorrectly

You can also ask students to:

  • Underline the topic sentence in your paragraph
  • Draw a box around the transitional words and phrases in your paragraph (you should have at least one)
  • Underline the concluding sentence in your paragraph

Excerpted from: Writing: A Landmark School Teaching Guide by Jean Gudaitis Tarricone © 1995
Checklist adapted by J. Parady (1999) and J. Gudaitis (1994)
from J.B Shumaker, S.M. Nolan, and D.D. Deshler (1985).
The Error Monitoring Strategy. Lawrence, Kansas.
University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.

Strategies to Download

Proofreading Checklist:

Use the following template as an example of a proofreading checklist that your students can follow


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