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Six Writing Traits




1) Write about small and specific concepts. Don’t write about baseball. Write about the time you hit a home run when you thought you were going to strikeout.

2) Include details that paint a picture. Don’t say you saw a dog going down the street. Say you saw a limping black Labrador hobbling down the sidewalk sniffing for leftovers.

3) Have a strong, concise main idea. “All about cats” is a weak idea because it’s too big. Get in focus: “Cats make the best pets because they are affectionate and independent.”



1) Grab your readers with a strong lead. Never begin…"This will be a story about driving a truck." Get your readers’ attention with… “I could barely see over the dashboard and I couldn’t reach the pedals but I was driving Dad’s truck!”

2) Put ideas in the proper order. Make sure the sequence of the story parts make sense.

3) Leave readers hungry for more with a strong ending. Don’t write… “Well, that’s all I have to say about summer camp.” Instead, write… “Despite being eaten alive by mosquitoes and nearly dying of poison ivy, I am enrolling in next year’s camp. I guess I enjoy suffering.”



1) Be yourself. Your writing should sound like you…no one else!

2) Never sound bored. Don’t write… “So mushrooms are kind of interesting.” Instead, write… “Mushrooms come in hundreds of shapes and colors, and if you can’t tell them apart, they just might poison you!”

3) Connect with your audience. Instead of writing… “Computers are important in our lives,” try writing… “What would we all do if we couldn’t use a computer for a whole year?”


Word Choice

1) Avoid old tired words like nice, good, fun, stuff, all that, you know, I mean, really, and very.

2) Use words correctly. Don’t write… “I felt impaled by his bad manners.” Impaled means stabbed by a spear! Write… “I felt appalled by his bad manners.” Appalled means that you were shocked and surprised.

3) Use common words in different ways. Write… “With so much lint on his couch, it looked like it had a bad case of dandruff.”


Sentence Fluency

1) Don’t start all your sentences the same way and don’t make them all the same length. Don’t write… “I like school. I like it a lot. I like math. I like reading. I like social studies.” How boring! Instead, try… “Though I like most school subjects, reading and social studies are my favorites.”

2) Vary sentence beginnings with words and phrases like Nevertheless, Although, Meanwhile, In addition to, After a time, On the other hand, However…and so forth.

3) Read your rough draft aloud to yourself when you have finished. Ask yourself...Is it smooth? Did you leave words out? Did you repeat words too many times?



1) Check your spelling. Use “Spell Check” on your computer but don’t always trust it. Remember that “Spell Check” doesn’t know, for example, if you meant to use the word two, to, or too.

2) Check punctuation by reading slowly and out loud to yourself so that you will hear pauses (for commas and periods), questions (for question marks), strong statements (for exclamation points) or direct quotations (for quotation marks).

3) Always be alert for capital letters, punctuation and new paragraphs!




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