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The 6 Traits of Writing. *Ideas *Organization *Word Choice *Sentence Fluency *Voice *Conventions. Created by: Jennifer Heidl-Knobloch & Jody Drake. Ideas & Content.

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the 6 traits of writing
The 6 Traits of Writing



*Word Choice

*Sentence Fluency



Created by: Jennifer Heidl-Knobloch & Jody Drake

ideas content
Ideas & Content

“The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece…all the details that enrich and develop the theme.”

--Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

ideas content1
Ideas & Content

A writer should:

~ Narrow the topic to something specific

~ Use a fresh, original perspective

~ When possible, write from experience

~ Use important, interesting details

(not just common knowledge)


“Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the pattern.”

--Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory


A writer should:

~ use an inviting lead that hooks the reader

~ use logical and effective order, structure, & sequence

~ use smooth transitions to emphasize main idea

~ place supporting details where they are most appropriate

~ use a conclusion that gives the reader a sense of resolution (clincher)

word choice
Word Choice

“Strong word choice clarifies and expands ideas…moves and enlightens the reader.”

--Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

--Anton Chekhov

word choice1
Word Choice

A writer should:

~ Use words that create a mental picture for the reader

~ Use powerful action verbs (vivid verbs)

~ Use specific nouns and adjectives

~ Use language that is natural and not overdone

~ Be concise (tighten sentences)

~ Use words correctly

~ Avoid repetition, slang, and clichés

sentence fluency
Sentence Fluency

“Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language.”

--Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

“To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”

--Truman Capote

sentence fluency1
Sentence Fluency

A writer should:

~Vary sentence beginning, structure, and length

~ Use complete sentences

~ Use transitions (internal & external) to promote cadence


“It is the heart and soul of the writing, the magic, the wit, the feeling, the life and breath.”

--Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory


A writer should:

~ Write honestly and from the heart

~ Interact with the reader

* without using YOU

~ Use language that brings the topic to life

~ Care about topic

~ Use expression to voice personality

and lastly
And lastly…



Some of you may not enjoy the editing process, but without this step, the other 5 traits could be overshadowed by errors that distract the reader. This trait is essential to a polished composition.


A writer should:

~ Turn in a clean, edited, and polished final draft

~ Reinforce the organization with good paragraphing

~ Use correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar


Quotations to Inspire

“ What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

- Samuel Johnson

“ We write to taste life twice.”

~ Anais Nin

works cited
Works Cited

“Assessment.” Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. 11 Jan. 2005. 6 July 2005. <>.

“Grammar Cartoons.” Google Images. 6 July 2005. <>.

Roberts, Bethany. "Writing for Children Workshop: Writing Quotes."16 June

2005. <>.

Spandel, Vicki. Creating Writers Through 6-Trait Writing Assessment and Instruction. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 2001.

Steele, Kimberly. “Ideas for Teaching Writing.” 23 June 2004. 6 July 2005. <>

source for powerpoint
Source for PowerPoint
  • Fox Valley Writing Project
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  • Jody Drake and Jennifer Heidl-Knobloch