Six Writing Traits

Six Traits Writing Program The Writing Curriculum at St. Didacus School 

St Didacus Parish School utilizes the 6+1 Trait Writing Model for the instruction and assessment of writing. The model was developed by a group of educators who wanted to create a system for identifying good writing. After analyzing hundreds of writing samples across all grade levels, they identified common traits which were apparent in all of the good samples. The 6+1 Trait Writing Model, which has been in use for more than 20 years nationwide, provides students and teachers with a common language to discuss the characteristics of good writing. The components of strong writing are as follows: 

1. Ideas- the main message 
2. Organization- the structure of the writing piece 
3. Voice- the author’s personal tone is reflected in the writing 
4. Word Choice- the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning 
5. Sentence Fluency- the rhythm and flow of the language 
6. Conventions- mechanical correctness 
7. Presentation- how the writing presents on the page 

These traits can be applied to any type of writing, whether it is an expository piece or a personal narrative. Teachers like the 6+1 Trait Writing Model because it can easily be adapted to extend across the curriculum into all content areas. Assessment is made clearer for students through the use of rubrics which state the grading criteria for a given assignment. At St. Didacus School, we believe using the 6+1 Trait Writing Model will provide our students with a solid foundation for writing as they move on to high school and beyond. More information on the 6+1 Traits can be found at educationnorthwest.org/traits

Ten Things Parents Can Do to Encourage Writing and Literacy at Home? 
1. Be a role model. Let children see you reading and writing for pleasure. 
2. Read to and with children. Some things you can read are short stories, poems, cookbooks, letters, family history, prayers, and Bible stories. 
3. Have books readily available in the home. 
4. Discuss books with children. Create dialogue about engaging books you are reading or have read in the past. 
5. Write notes to your child. Even a short message slipped into a lunch box or under a pillow can be a special treat for a child to receive. 
6. Provide a designated reading area in the home. Make it an inviting place to relax and read a good book. 
7. Have plenty of writing materials on hand; paper in different colors or textures, pens, pencils, markers, journals, etc. 
8. Go on outings to your local library or bookstore. Help children choose age appropriate, high interest reading materials. 
9. Share with your child the many kinds of writing and/or reading you do throughout your adult life. Perhaps you have a job that requires report writing or filling out evaluations. Show your child the kinds of literacy tasks that you are involved in on a daily basis. 
10. Have reference materials available. Help children to learn the art of choosing synonyms with a thesaurus, or looking up unfamiliar words in a dictionary. 

Tips for Responding to Children’s Writing
1. Be positive. Search for the strengths of the piece and give worthy praise. 
2. Show enthusiasm for children’s writing. Remember, children who are just learning how to communicate through the written word. Think about the wonder of it all. 
3. When commenting on problem areas, keep it simple and non-judgmental. Say, “When I read this part, I was confused,” rather than criticizing the paper. 
4. Allow children to use their own voice when writing; don’t put words in their mouths. Coach them, but don’t do it for them.