Seven Traits of Good Writing Instruction
Q. Teachers today
talk about the "seven traits of writing" that they use to score children's
writing samples in these new assessments. How should we assess the teaching of
(See Writing #02
in the www.ShowandTellforParents.com
We can measure
how well schools are doing in delivering quality writing instruction by
measuring how well they're doing with THESE seven traits, which reveal good
Does your child's school:
systematic, intensive, explicit phonics in the early grades, K-3, so that
children will know how our language works, can think logically and write
accurately? Or does it use whole language?
Have a teacher-centered, instructional philosophy with traditional individual
desks and chairs in first grade on? Or does it use a "child-centered,"
"constructivist," "discovery learning" philosophy?
penmanship properly so that children have the necessary automaticity in letter
formation to write words fluently?
excellent, quality books on the selected reading lists for each grade, with a
maximum of classic children's literature and a minimum of contemporary "hot topics"
books on social issues?
teachers to circle children's grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization
errors and have them correct those errors, beginning in kindergarten? Or do
they think that hurts kids?
6. Spend staff
development dollars on academic development of teachers, or touchy-feely, "fad
du jour," nonacademic workshops and conferences that don't help children master
7. Insist that
teachers be good writers themselves and shoot for perfection in all the written
communications they dispatch to students, parents, other teachers, and the
general public. And if they can't write very well, they shouldn't hold a
We all agree that
the "seven traits" of writing that are being promulgated to teachers are
important: ideas, content, voice, word choice, organization, sentence fluency
and conventions. What educators miss, though, is that parents and the public
want the focus of instructional time spent on conventions - the basics.
Homework: Never got the writing basics? Download free grammar
packets for Grade 6 on up at www.readbygrade3.com/cvrltr.html