The Six Traits

What are the six traits of writing?

  • Ideas
  • Organization 
  • Voice 
  • Sentence Fluency 
  • Word Choice 
  • Conventions

Why are the six traits of writing important?

        First and foremost, the six traits of writing are the most important elements of a piece of writing. If a student has great ideas but his/her essay is disorganized and hard to follow, it is more difficult for the reader to understand what they are reading. If a student, or any writer, is missing one of these traits, their writing is weakened. Finally, on the AIMS test, students are evaluated based on the six traits of writing. 


How do I know what each of these traits mean? 

 Below is a brief overview of each trait:


Ideas- Students need original and creative ideas that are interesting to the reader.

                Example:       Essay about keys -VS.-  Essay about how keys were important for people involved in the underground railroad. 


Organization- Students need proper sentence and paragraph format. This format should make it easy for the reader to follow the chain of events.

               Example:       The alley is where the cat ran down.  -VS.-  The cat ran down the alley. 


Voice- Characters in a story must speak in a believeable way. The writer's personality should shine through in his/her writing. Also, the writing must be appropriate for the audience.

               Example:     In a letter to the president the student uses text messaging speak such as "IDK" (I don't know) 


                                       In a letter to the president the student uses "sir" and removes inappropriate slang


Sentence Fluency- Sentences flow together and students use transitions to link sentences in a paragraph together. Also, students use transition words to link pragraphs to one another. 

               Example:   I like chicken. It is good. I like my mom's chicken the best. 


                                     I like chicken but I especially like mom's chicken the best. 


Word Choice- Choosing words that provide more impact on the reader. Also, using more descriptive words and vibrant verbs. 

              Example:    Her hair was very pretty.  -VS.-When she glided through the door, her hair was silk flowing in a raven ribbon behind her. 


 Conventions- Using proper grammar and properly punctuating and spelling a piece of writing.

              Example:   Those is the cutest bunnys I ever seen   -VS.-  Those are the cutest bunnies I have ever seen.