lee's classroom

(another MPPS global2.vic.edu.au weblog)

Six Traits of Writing

The information below is taken from the Edina Public Schools website (2002).
For more information and activities that further explore each trait see the Six Traits Website.

Ideas and Content

As you begin your paper you generate ideas. Your ideas and content are the reasons for writing a paper. Every paper should convey a message and be easy to follow. Some thoughts to get you going:What is my message and is it focused and clear

  • Did I include important details relevant to my topic?
  • Did the reader learn something new?
  • Is my paper interesting and easy to understand?



Organizing your ideas helps a reader move through your paper in a meaningful way. Here are some things to keep in mind as you write your paper

  • Does my beginning hook my reader?
  • Is my paper easy to follow? Did I choose the best way to organize my story?
  • Do my ideas link to a main message?
  • Do I have a strong conclusion that wraps up the story?



Your voice is what gives your writing personality, flavor and style.
Questions to think about as you write your paper:

  • Can you tell I am enthusiastic about my topic?
  • Does this writing sound like me?
  • How do I want my readers to feel?
  • Will my story hold readers’ attention? Will they want to hear more?


Sentence Fluency

Fluent writing has rhythm. Sentences vary in length and structure. It is easy and pleasurable to read aloud.It is important to think about:

  • Is my story easy to read?
  • Do my sentences begin in different ways?
  • Did I use some long and some short sentences?
  • Does my paper sound smooth as I read it aloud?


Word Choice

The specific words that you choose create images, capture a reader’s attention and make your story memorable.
Look at your paper and decide:

  • Have I used some strong verbs or colorful phrases that grab my reader?
  • Have I chosen the most precise word?
  • Have I used any unique words?
  • Did I repeat common words too many times?



Now it is time to start editing for conventions. These include spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalization and paragraphing. Proper use of conventions make your story easy for others to read.
To begin editing ask yourself:

  • Did I leave spaces between words and sentences?
  • Did I use a title?
  • Did I use correct punctuation?
  • Did I use capital letters in the right places?
  • Have I proofread for correct spelling and grammar?


Now that you have edited your work, you are ready to publish. Presentation is about how your writing looks on the page. Even if your ideas, words, and sentences are all fantastic, the writing will not be inviting to read unless the guidelines of presentation are present.
Consider the following:

  • If handwritten, is the slant consistent, letters clearly formed and are the words evenly spaced?
  • If typed, have I used appropriate fonts and font sizes to invite the reader into the text?
  • Are my words grouped by sentence or paragraph for easy understanding?
  • Are pictures and maps used effectively to enhance understanding?
  • Is there a balance of text and white space on the page (margins,spacing etc.)?
  • Can the audience easily focus on the text and message without distractions?
  • Does the formatting suits the purpose for writing?
  • Are the pictures located with text to create alignment and flow of meaning?

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