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By now, many of us know what the six traits of writing are: ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. And we know that those are the basic traits that make up good writing.
But do we know them well enough to explain them to our third graders? How about our first graders?
It’s not always easy to present such indefinite terms to our younger students in a way that they’ll understand. So until School House Rock comes up with a great new song about them, here are some simple scripting suggestions to help you introduce the six traits of writing to your class.
Explain to students that good writing starts with good ideas.
Say: A good idea is clear, interesting and original. It makes the readers say, “Wow!” or “I never would have thought of that!” Without good ideas, your writing would not have much of a point. Your reader would be bored!
Explain to students that good writing is organized in a way that helps the reader understand the information and follow what the writer is saying.
Say: The organization of your writing is what holds everything together. It puts your ideas in an order that makes sense, and it gives your writing a strong beginning, middle and end. When your writing is not organized, your reader can grow confused and lose interest.
Explain to students that good writers choose their words carefully in order to get their ideas across.
Say: When you write, choose just the right words and use them correctly. Make them fun and interesting so they help your readers “see” what you are talking about. Try not to use the same words over and over again. If you don’t choose your words carefully, your reader may not understand what you’re trying to say.
Explain to students that good writers make their writing flow by using different kinds of sentences.
Say: You want your writing to be easy to read and follow. It should flow so smoothly and sound so interesting that people want to read it aloud! When your sentences don’t flow, your writing sounds choppy and flat. Your readers would not want to read it aloud.
Explain to students that when they write, their personality, or who they are, should shine through.
Say: You want your writing to sound like you, and no one else! When you write, you show who you are through words. No matter what type of writing you do, always make sure it sounds like you. Otherwise, your reader may not care about what you have to say. In fact, your reader may not even know who wrote it!
Explain to students that good writers follow all the rules, or conventions, of writing, so their readers can easily read and understand the writing.
Say: Using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation when you write is important. When you don’t follow the rules, your reader can become lost or confused. He or she may not know where one idea stops and another begins.
Looking for more 6 trait writing help? The tips from this article came from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers’ Daily 6-Trait Writing. Download a free sample week of instruction and take a look at the teacher resource pages for more examples on how to introduce the traits and lead class lessons.