How do you handle commentary already on the paper?

As a tutor in the writing center you will, at one point or another, encounter a paper with commentary already on it. Sometimes there will be great amounts of commentary covering many different types of errors. Sometimes there will be next to no commentary. The commentary may be anywhere from very directive to very facilitative. As a tutor, how do you handle the commentary already on the paper?

In their book The Practical Tutor Emily Meyer and Louise Z. Smith offer wonderful advice on how to handle present commentary:

Without implying that such factors justify lowered standards,
you can rephrase such comments, making them neutral yet
supportive. `You must work harder!' could be rephrased in
several ways: `How did you go about reading `The Communist
Manifesto'? or `How long did you spend writing your paper'?
or `Did you proofread?' or `Before you wrote this paper, did you
review the comments the teacher wrote on your previous papers?'"(142)

Meyer and Smith give three strategies for dealing with commentary already present. First, rephrase harsh commentary into neutral questions during the conference. Do not judge the student or complain about the professor. Second, mention that it can be valuable to look at past comments from a professor before writing another paper for that professor. Past commentary can give the student an idea of what the professor is looking for and what errors are unacceptable to that professor. The third and most important piece of advice Meyer and Smith offer a tutor is that as a tutor "you can encourage writers in all of the above situations to consult their teachers as a first step" (139).

Can Tutors write commentary?

What is Commentary?