5 Tips For Proofreading

proofreading day

A majority of our time in college is spent writing. We write essays, responses, critiques, and many other forms of writing throughout a given semester. With all of this writing, sometimes an important step can be left out: proofreading. So in the spirit of National Proofreading Day (March 8th), here are some tips for proofreading.

 

  1. Take A Break: After you have finished writing a draft of a paper, take a break. Leave the assignment, and if possible, give yourself around 24 hours to think about the topic you’re writing about. This method is most helpful for longer papers but requires you to get started early. If you have spent hours writing, you will lose some objectivity while looking over the paper. You will be too familiar with it and this will make finding mistakes more difficult. So get started early and allow yourself time to think about the paper before returning to proofread it.

  2. Read It Out Loud: Another great way of finding mistakes in your writing is to read it out loud. Sometimes when typing, we think something sounds correct in our heads. However, many times when we read our writing out loud we can see where an argument or sentence doesn’t make sense. This is a great way to see if your sentences are run-ons, if you repeat yourself too much, and if the paragraph or page flows well.

  3. Pay Attention To Wordiness: We all have word counts we need to meet with every paper, but many times better writing is concise writing. Sentences with too many words can be difficult to read, and you can lose your audience’s attention. Instead of adding extra words to try to finish the paper, take the time and energy to carefully choose your words. This will make your paper stronger and can lead to a better grade.

  4. Write Actively: Verbs drive language. When proofreading, look for how many times you use a “to be” verb, such as “is,” “are,” and “were.” These passive verbs make sentences weaker and can bring down an entire paper. Try to reorder the sentence so that you can remove the linking passive verbs and insert stronger, more powerful ones. To check, press “ctrl” and “f” on your keyboard and then search for those words. It may shock you to see how many times you use passive voice.

  5. Ask Someone Else To Read Your Paper: One of the best ways to proofread is to allow someone else to do it for you! Finding other students in a specific class and exchanging papers can be a great way to find mistakes in each other’s writing and make new friends! Have you ever lost something, spent minutes looking for it, and then someone else comes in the room and finds it almost immediately? As frustrating as that can be, writing is the same way. Sometimes one glance from someone who is not familiar with the writing can be all you need to improve your paper.

 

Writing is a challenge and after completing a difficult assignment, proofreading may seem like a useless check. However, if you dedicate yourself to editing and rereading your paper, you will see an improvement in your writing, and perhaps also in your grades.

*written by Brennan Kress

 

Reading List: Black History

black history month

February is Black History Month, and the library has many books by and about influential African Americans. Whether you want to learn more about Marcus Garvey or black women in the suffrage movement, there’s probably a book about it! Skim the list below and get started learning! Most of the books listed can be found in the “E” section of our shelves.

*Book descriptions were provided by the publishers via the library catalog.

 

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois

A singular combination of essays, memoir, and fiction, this book is a searing account of the situation of African Americans in the United States.

 

The Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells

The diaries of Wells, a noted journalist and activist, reveal nineteenth- and twentieth-century black life in a major southern city.

 

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. Read Olivia Chin’s review here.

 

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou’s childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s.

 

Race Matters by Cornel West (available in both print and eBook formats)

Race Matters addresses some of today’s most urgent issues for black Americans – from discrimination to despair, from leadership to the legacy of Malcolm X. West has the courage to break taboos of silence in the black community, while always acknowledging the realities of race in America.

 

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider presents essential writings of black poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, an influential voice in 20th-century literature.

 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as ‘human computers’ used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

 

The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcolm X & Alex Haley

The former leader of the Black Muslims tells the story of his life and his part in the civil rights movement.

 

Harlem’s Glory: Black Women Writing by Various Authors

In poems, stories, memoirs, and essays about color and culture, prejudice and love, and feminine trials, dozens of African-American women writers – some famous, many just discovered – give us a sense of a distinct inner voice and an engagement with their larger double culture.

 

Vintage Baldwin by James Baldwin

In his novels, short stories, plays, and essays, James Baldwin broached issues such as race, sex, politics, and art.

 

Fight On! Mary Church Terrell’s Battle For Integration by Dennis B. Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin

Profiles the first black Washington, D.C. Board of Education member, who helped to found the NAACP and organized of pickets and boycotts that led to the 1953 Supreme Court decision to integrate D.C. area restaurants.

 

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.

He was a husband, a father, a preacher- and the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world.

 

Featured Author: Zora Neale Hurston

 

jan 7 1891

 

Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, on January 7th, 1891. Hurston’s family moved to Eatonville, Florida when she was three. Eatonville was one of the first all-black towns incorporated in the United States, and Hurston occasionally claimed it as her birthplace.

As she grew up, Hurston worked as a maid before finishing high school as a nontraditional student. She then went on to Howard University, where she co-founded the university’s student newspaper and participated in the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, which was founded by and for black women. Eventually, a scholarship allowed Hurston to study at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she was the only black student on campus. She received her B.A. in Anthropology at the age of 37.

Graduate studies brought Hurston to live in Harlem in the 1920s, the peak of the Harlem Renaissance. She quickly became familiar with writers and poets such as Langston Hughes, and Hurston herself became one of the faces of Harlem’s literary movement.

Several of Hurston’s writings include:

 

Sadly, Hurston died in relative obscurity in the 1960s, but her work is now recognized as historically and aesthetically important today. You can check out many of her books right here at the library; just click here to see what’s available.

Featured Book: “Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles”

life inside

If you’ve ever dealt with (or are currently dealing with) OCD, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s, and other mental health disorders, you are not alone. That is the overarching message of Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles. This book includes essays from various writers about their experiences with personal conflicts. Each essay is from a different author, so the writing style varies, and one author even incorporates free verse to tell her story.

Some of the authors included are as follows:

  • Amber Benson (who portrayed the character Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Jessica Burkhart (author of Wild Hearts)
  • Scott Neumyer (a popular journalist)
  • Sara Zarr (author of Story of a Girl).

It can be comforting to read about others who have struggled, gotten help, and learned how to cope. However, some of the stories depicted could be hard to read about for someone who is currently experiencing a similar situation- so be aware of this book’s heavy nature.

Several of Life Inside My Mind‘s lessons can be summed up in this passage from Amber Benson:

As much as your friends love you and want to be there for you, it’s not their job to fix you. Ignoring the problem, or pretending “you’ve got it under control,” will only make things worse. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist knows that they’re doing (they went to school for a long time in order to do this), and they know how to help you get back on track . . .

Whether we like it or not, the stress of of being a human being can be overwhelming, and having a safe space to talk about our problems, assess whether our brains are working correctly, make sure there’s nothing chemically out of line . . . well, I think that’s super important. I know I need that safe space in my life if I’m going to be a productive member of society.

Getting help when you need it- whatever that looks like for you- is encouraged by all of the authors in this book. They’ve been there themselves, and many of them are still figuring it all out. Pick up Life Inside My Mind when you need to know that you’re not alone in your struggles.

 

 

Featured eBook: “I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories Of Becoming A Nurse”

nurse

 

I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out is a collection of vibrant, funny, honest narrative essays by nurses working in vastly different settings – everything from a cancer ward to a Mercy Ship off the coast of Africa to an Israeli mental hospital.

As editor Lee Gutkind explains in the introduction, “Every essay tells a different story, but all of the essays have a common theme: no matter how difficult nurses’ lives or how secret their suffering, becoming a nurse entails movement into another dimension of strength and character and persistence; it is a path of irreplaceable and often unacknowledged service to society and humanity.”

“Becoming a nurse…is a path of irreplaceable and often unacknowledged service to society and humanity.”

Both sobering and inspirational, this eBook provides a collection of stories that will appeal not only to nursing students but to anyone who loves a good human interest story.

You can access our eBooks collection by searching our regular catalog on the website or going to Databases, E-books, and Media in the Quick Links section of the site.