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6 Trait Writing Front Page: Using Picture Book Read-To's

Page history last edited by MrsK Books 4 years, 2 months ago

Teaching the Six Traits of Writing


Picture Books

Designed by Mrs K Books 2006


What better way to teach powerful writing than to model a ten-minute “Read-To.”  The traits are easy to spot within a picture book

because the text is short, the leads hook you into reading beyond the first page, precise and delicious words carry the story’s plot,

there is logical organization with fluid sentencing, and each story has the power of a unique and inspiring voice.


Within a picture book, students can be lead to recognize-discuss-debate and practice the type of word play, which engages a reader

to “want” to read.  Our student’s writing gets stronger once they learn “what” good writers do.  If I want them to practice writing

good leads, I’ll let them investigate those picture books that have outstanding leads.  You know the ones that beg you to continue

the story, well that is what the scorer will be wanting our student’s papers to do….inviting them to read more.  When students get

stuck in their writing, encourage them to go to the picture books for ideas and examples.


After choosing the picture book, introduce the trait and read the story.  After reading, emphasize the trait and discuss if the book

fulfilled that particular requirement.  Ask your students to read, discuss, and debate the strengths and weaknesses of each book.  Once

you have modeled how to “score” a text, the students will be quick at spotting which picture book is stronger in which of the traits.


The six traits of writing are the glue that keeps a story moving in the reader’s mind.

    Ideas:  the meaning and development of the message

   Organization:  the internal structure of the piece

   Voice:  the way the writer brings the story to life

   Word Choice:  the specific vocabulary the writer chose to convey meaning

   Sentence Fluency:  the way the words and phrases flow throughout the story

   Conventions:  the mechanical correctness of the text

   Presentation:  the overall appearance of the work


You will be teaching the six traits just by reading examples of fine detail, strategic organization, powerful voice, precise word choice,

and lyrical fluency (Books, Lessons, Ideas for Teaching the Six TraitsSpandel 2001).  You will not need to read the entire book in

order to emphasize the trait.  The students do not always have to practice writing once the book has been shared.  Your goal is to

reinforce student understanding of each trait.  Once you have pointed out that trait, invite the students to read and discover more

about good writing on their own.


“Read-To” model is only about a 10-minute teacher centered lesson.

   Introduce the book:  Why you chose that book for that trait

   Read the selection:  Enjoy, have fun, dramatize the read aloud

   Discussion:   Vary the way the students discuss and debate (large group, small group, etc)

Across the Curriculum:

Bunny Cakes

Wells, Rosemary


All Traits


Steps in process



Max and Ruby must work together to make a cake for their Grandmother’s birthday. 


Grades 1+   

Archibald Frisby

Chesworth, Michael






Archibald Frisby sees the world around him as a world of discovery. Will summer camp teach him to just have fun? Great book to introduce reasoning and how students view the world around them. Grades 3+

Chicken’s Aren’t the Only Ones

Heller, Ruth


Word Choice


Animal Eggs

Artistic Design

With a rhyming text, Heller introduces species that lay eggs. Great comparison book.

Grades 2+

The Reason for a Flower

Heller, Ruth



Word Choice



Artistic Design

Nectar, pollen, seeds, roots, stems and leaves. What is the reason for a flower?



Grades 2+

Postcard Passages

Joyce, Susan




Global Travel


All traits are shinning in this grand adventure around the world. Great-Aunt Gladys sends postcards to Suellan as she travels across the globe. Journaling.

Grades 3+

Adventures of Riley: Dolphins in Danger

Lumry, Amanda &

Hurwitz, Laura




Ocean – Dolphins


Uncle Max sends Riley a postcard from the Tahitian island of Moorea.  There is a trapped pod of dolphins that are in need of rescue. Photos, Maps, Information Sidebars, Glossary.                                     

Grades 3+


The Amazing Pop-Up Grammar Book

Maizels, Jennie &

Petty, Kate




Parts of Speech



This book is full of examples for grammar usage. The book is busy with explorations.  Best used as individual instruction after the introduction. Moveable parts.

Grades 4+                                               

The Hershey’s Fractions Book

Pallotta, Jerry






How can a student write what a fraction is? Let them practice with this book and a Hershey’s bar as an introduction to writing about a mathematical concept.     

Grades 4+

The Icky Bug Counting Book

Pallotta, Jerry







Helping students to know quick facts about the bugs in their yards can inspire them in writing their own scientific journal. Counting.                                      

Grades 1+

The Amazing Pop-Up Geography Book

Petty, Kate &

Maizels, Jennie



Social Studies





Quick and easy facts and explanations for geographical information about our planet Earth. New subject area each time the page is turned. Best used as individual instruction after the introduction. Moveable parts.

Grades 4+

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Taback, Simms



All Traits

Folk Tale

Sequence of Event


Traditionally this tale is about a tailor who makes himself an overcoat. But once the coat gets worn out, he makes it into jacket. What does he make after that?              

Grades 4+

Math Fables

Tang, Greg




Sentence Fluency




Taking students beyond counting and encouraging them to write about problem solving, as a rhyme will encourage their math connections.                              

Grades 3+

How Do Octopi Eat Pizza Pie?

Time-Life for Children







Story Problems

Making sense of words and symbols is what reading is all about. Learning to put mathematical concepts into a written format is difficult at any age. This book has many lessons for an independent learner. 

Grades 4+

Stringbean’s Trip to the Shinning Sea

Williams, Jennifer



Social Studies

Artistic Design

United States

On a summer trip from sea to shinning sea, Stringbean and his brother Fred send postcards home. Great idea for creating their own postcard on a 5X8.    

Grades 4+


Enjoy the following book attractions for each of the 6 Traits!

Each of the traits are represented …. all that is needed is your connection with one of the titles

or writing suggestions, a bit of your personal touch for “flavoring,” and a desire to “blend”

technology into the lesson presentation. 

May you find inspiration inside the cover of these bindings!


Ideas  Word Choice  Voice Sentence Fluency Organization  Conventions  Presentation

Just open the file for the trait that you are working on it’s that easy.

6T Resource Suggestions 


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