The Six Trait Writing Process

Blending the Writing Traits into the Classroom

The six trait writing process blends easily into a process centered classroom. The writing traits and the writing process itself support one another, flowing as a river from beginning to end.

Each time our students put pen to paper, we want them to understand that they have choices as they write. We want them to realize that the writing traits are a series of flexible stepping stones for use in writing well. The writing traits open the door to creative possibilities, providing students with choices of topics, reinforcing skills and effective problem solving, and guiding them to solutions.

Each step of the six trait writing process serves as a unique creative writing tip that all successful writers follow:

  • Prewriting: generating ideas for the piece, the main trait being that of ideas.

  • Drafting: getting ideas down in a rough form, the main traits being those of ideas and organization.

  • Sharing: receiving feedback on the draft from a reader or listener, the main traits being those of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

  • Revising: making thoughtful, reflective decisions based on the first five traits, being those of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

  • Editing: polishing and "cleaning up" the piece, checking for proper capitalization, punctuation, spelling, paragraphing, grammar, and usage, the main trait being that of conventions.

  • Publishing: the piece goes public, the main trait being that of presentation.

Students learn as we model the writing process, sharing creative writing tips and secrets. They receive an insider's view of what we expect, consequently having a greater chance of writing success.

As instructional tools, the writing traits provide a strong vocabulary for encouraging young writers in what they are doing well and in what comes next. By using these traits in the classroom, you'll see your students' writing surge ahead by leaps and bounds.

Click on any of the above links for focus lessons and hands-on activities for strengthening writing in that trait.

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