St. John's Episcopal School

The Six Traits of Writing

The 6 Traits of Writing Model of Instruction & Assessment provides a common language for teachers and students to communicate about the characteristics of writing and establishes a clear vision of what good writing looks like.  The 6 Traits analytical model for assessing and teaching writing is made up of six key qualities that define strong writing. These are:

1. Organization: Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the logical and intriguing pattern of the ideas.

2. Ideas: The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with the details that enrich and develop that theme.

3. Word Choice: Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens the reader.

4. Sentence Fluency: Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear and not just to the eye.

5. Conventions: Conventions refer to the mechanical correctness of the piece: spelling, grammar, paragraphing, capitalization, and punctuation.

6. Voice: The voice is the heart and soul, the magic, the will, along with the feelings and convictions of the individual writer coming out through the words.

Benchmarks for the 6 Traits of Writing have been identified for each grade level.