6+1 Traits of Writing Resources

Modes of Writing

There are three broad purposes, or modes, of writing: narrative, expository, and persuasive/argumentative.

The Common Core Standards describe these modes as narrative; informative/explanatory; opinion/argument.

Below is a brief description of each mode.

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Writing Process

Any piece of writing can be taken through the writing process in order to improve it. Check out the graphic below to get an idea of what this process is.





In “Prewriting” you’re preparing to write by thinking about who your audience is, what you’re purpose for writing-or your mode-is going to be. You’re thinking about what to say, rehearsing these ideas by talking about them with a teammate. You might read information or annotate text or jot down ideas to include in your writing.

Freewriting can be done many ways, but it generally involves writing as much as you can about anything you choose without stopping or revising or editing or thinking too much about conventions. It’s like a “mind dump” on paper. You might have a prompt to work with for a freewrite, or you might just write whatever comes into your mind. This is used when you’re trying to think of things you want to write about or to get “un-stuck” if you don’t know what to write.

Outlining is when you start to think of the shape of your writing in the form of paragraphs, main ideas, and details. A traditional outline looks something like this:

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After the planning comes the writing. The key thing is to write. Your first draft won’t be your best, and it won’t be your last.

When a first draft is finished, get ready for a peer-revision conference followed by a teacher-revision conference. You will likely have a rewrite of parts or the entire piece followed by more peer-revision and teacher-revision.

This is NOT the time to edit. It’s the time to “re-vise” or “re-see” the ideas and words you put on paper. Editing is fixing mistakes.

Refer to the Peer-Revision Card to help.

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Think Abouts

Writing is complex. There are a LOT of things to think about. That’s why we use the 6+1 Traits “Think Abouts.”

These are metacognitive questions to get us reflecting on our writing. Use these as you’re drafting to reflect on the ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation.

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This is the place where we start to focus more on punctuation, spelling, grammar, usage, and formatting. This is the place where we “fix” the mistakes. It’s also where we think about attributing where we got our information from .

Use the 6+1 Traits Rules to Remember for Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization, Grammar, and Usage. 

Use our Edit Conference Card below.

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You will also want to use the following 6+1 Traits Think Abouts as you edit.

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This is the final step. Releasing your thoughts to the world! It still requires you to think carefully about where you publish your writing.