WriteShop and the 6 Traits of Effective Writing
From time to time, parents ask us whether WriteShop aligns with the Six Traits of Effective Writing.
6 + 1® Trait Writing is a model for teaching and assessing writing. Originally, it was intended less as a teaching tool and more as an evaluation tool to help teachers identify student strengths and weaknesses.
Although WriteShop wasn’t developed according to the Six Traits model, our products do offer comparable tools to teach, edit, and evaluate your children’s writing. After all, our goal is to help you become a more effective teacher, and these skills and tools just make sense—no matter what name they go by! This article focuses on WriteShop I and II for middle and high school writers.
Creating Good Writers
Students become good writers through modeling, discussion, and plenty of practice. But most parents—even those who are intuitive writers—need specific guidelines and rubrics to help them teach writing systematically and effectively, including:
- Explicit instruction for how to teach the writing process (along with specific writing skills).
- Guided writing (modeling) and discussion.
- Step-by-step student directions.
- Practical application of grammar and spelling to writing.
- Checklists, rubrics, and other tools to help edit and evaluate writing.
WriteShop and the Six Traits
Though our products may not fully align with the Six Traits model, WriteShop I & II for teens and WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior for elementary ages give you the instruction and guidance you need to teach writing with confidence!
However, two favorite WriteShop I & II tools—the Writing Skills Checklists and the Composition Evaluation forms—do meet many criteria of the Six Traits model.
The elements of the Writing Skills Checklist allow you to give your junior high or high school student valuable suggestions and a chance to improve his or her paper. And the Composition Evaluation form provides a rubric for effective, accurate grading.
Each of the Six Traits (listed below) is followed by specific elements WriteShop I and II look for in a composition.
The main focus or purpose for writing
- Did the student follow directions for the assignment?
- Did he include lesson-specific content?
- Did he support his ideas with details?
The internal structure of the writing
- Did the student use appropriate topic and closing sentences?
- Did he use transition words when necessary?
- Did he communicate clearly?
The sense that the writer is speaking directly to the reader
- Did he write in the correct narrative voice for the assignment?
The use of concrete, colorful, precise vocabulary to communicate meaning
- Did the student use vivid, active, colorful words?
- Did he avoid vague, repeated, or overused words?
- Did the student limit use of passive voice (“to be” words)?
The flow and readability of the text; effective use of sentence variations
- Did the student communicate clearly and avoid awkwardness?
- Did he use a number of interesting sentence variations?
- Did he use his tenses properly?
The mechanical correctness, including spelling, punctuation, and grammar
- Did the student adhere to conventions of form?
- Did he correctly use punctuation, capitalization, and grammar?
- Did he spell correctly?
- Did he use correct sentence structure?