6 Traits Plus 1


6 Traits Plus 1 is all about enhancing student writing skills: it is a comprehensive guide to writing for improvement.

As a dedicated educator, you know that nurturing effective writing skills in your students is crucial for their academic and professional success.

One powerful framework that can help you achieve this goal is the “6 Traits Plus 1” approach.


This method offers a holistic view of writing, focusing on seven essential aspects that lead to well-rounded, competent writers.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the 6 Traits Plus 1 model, its components, and practical strategies to incorporate it into your teaching repertoire.

1. Understanding the 6 Traits Plus 1 Model

The “6 Traits Plus 1” model is a comprehensive framework designed to assess and improve student writing. It originated from the “6+1 Trait Writing” model developed by Education Northwest and has been widely adopted in K-12 classrooms. The seven components are:

  1. Ideas
  2. Organization
  3. Voice
  4. Word Choice
  5. Sentence Fluency
  6. Conventions
  7. Presentation

These traits provide a well-rounded view of writing and allow teachers to evaluate and provide targeted feedback to students.


2. Implementing the 6 Traits Plus 1 Model

To effectively use the “6 Traits Plus 1” approach in your teaching, follow these steps:

a. Start with a clear learning goal: Determine the specific trait or traits you want to focus on in your writing instruction. This will help you tailor your lessons to your student’s needs.

b. Teach each trait: Dedicate time to teach each of the seven traits individually, providing examples and exercises to reinforce the concept. Ensure that students understand the traits’ significance in the writing process.

c. Use mentor texts: Share exemplary pieces of writing that highlight each trait. Analyze these texts with your students to help them grasp the traits’ practical application.

d. Provide constructive feedback: Encourage students to self-assess their writing using the traits as guidelines. Offer constructive feedback that aligns with the trait you’re currently emphasizing.

e. Foster revision: Emphasize the importance of revision as a natural part of the writing process. Encourage students to revisit their work and make improvements based on the traits.


Incorporating the “6 Traits Plus 1” model into your classroom can significantly enhance your students’ writing skills and overall literacy. This holistic approach focuses on seven key aspects of writing: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation. Here’s how you can effectively use these traits in your teaching:

3. Let’s take a deeper look at 6 Traits Plus 1

  1. Ideas
    • Brainstorming: Encourage students to generate a variety of ideas before they start writing. Use techniques like mind mapping or free writing to stimulate creativity.
    • Content Development: Teach students to develop their ideas with relevant details, examples, and evidence.
    • Peer Review: Have students share their ideas with peers for feedback and suggestions.
  2. Organization – Organisation
    • Outlining: Show students how to create outlines or graphic organisers to structure their writing logically.
    • Transitions: Emphasize the importance of transitional words and phrases to improve the flow of their writing.
    • Text Structures: Introduce different text structures (e.g., narrative, expository, argumentative) and teach students how to use them effectively.
  3. Voice
    • Authentic Voice: Encourage students to write with their own unique voice and personality.
    • Tone and Mood: Discuss how tone and mood impact writing and how to choose the right tone for a specific audience or purpose.
    • Author’s Purpose: Analyze the author’s voice in various texts to help students understand the concept.
  4. Word Choice
    • Vocabulary: Expand students’ vocabulary through word lists, reading, and vocabulary-building activities.
    • Precision: Teach the importance of selecting precise words and avoiding vague or overused terms.
    • Figurative Language: Introduce metaphors, similes, and other forms of figurative language to add depth to their writing.
  5. Sentence Fluency
    • Sentence Variety: Encourage students to vary their sentence structures (e.g., simple, compound, complex) for better readability.
    • Rhythm and Flow: Read aloud as a class to identify sentences that need revision for better fluency.
    • Editing for Clarity: Show students how to edit for sentence clarity, ensuring that each sentence makes sense and contributes to the overall flow.
  6. Conventions
    • Grammar and Punctuation: Teach proper grammar rules, punctuation usage, and sentence mechanics.
    • Editing Skills: Guide students in self-editing and peer editing exercises to improve their grasp of conventions.
    • Proofreading: Emphasize the importance of proofreading for spelling and grammatical errors.
  7. Presentation
    • Formatting: Discuss the importance of formatting elements such as headings, font size, and paragraph spacing in enhancing readability.
    • Graphics and Multimedia: Show students how to incorporate relevant visuals, graphs, or multimedia elements into their writing.
    • Publishing: Teach students how to present their final work professionally, whether in print or digital format.

Remember that the “6 Traits Plus 1” model is not a linear process but rather an ongoing cycle of writing improvement.

Encourage students to revise and revisit their work based on feedback and self-assessment.

Additionally, provide constructive feedback that aligns with the specific trait you’re focusing on in a given lesson.

By consistently integrating these traits into your teaching, you’ll help your students become more proficient, confident, and effective writers, setting them up for success not only in your classroom but as future writers.


By embracing the “6 Traits Plus 1” model and implementing it in your classroom, you can guide your students toward becoming proficient and confident writers.

Remember to focus on each trait, provide constructive feedback, and encourage revision.

Incorporating this approach into your teaching methodology can help your students develop essential writing skills that will benefit them not only academically but also in their future careers. So, get started with the 6 Traits Plus 1 model today and witness the transformative power it has on your students’ writing abilities.

Click here for our Six Trait resources on our website

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