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Guest Post: Why Teach the 6-traits of Effective Writing?

by Dr. Jolene Borgese

We need only go to the source to find why we need to teach the traits—Vicki Spandel. Vicki, while working at the Northwest Laboratory, worked with 17 teachers at Beaverton, Oregon School District, using the research of Paul Dietrich, who created an analytical writing assessment rubric. Through their work with Vicki, they also identified six characteristics true of all good writing (ideas. organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency and conventions).  Vicki capsulizes the reasons for teaching and using the six traits:

  1. Builds students understanding of concepts like voice
  2. Provides language for thinking and talking about writing
  3. Gives students options for revising
  4. Teaches students to think – by making them evaluators
  5. Connects reading and writing through mentor texts
  6. Puts students in charge of their own writing process  (Creating Writers, 2013 page 3). 

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