6 traits of great writing—according to a fourth-grade teacher

The author’s son brought home a handout that explains the basics of great writing. They serve as an important reminder to all scribes.

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I’ve written several posts about my 10-year-old son and his developing writing skills. And though he may not share my alacrity for writing, his school curriculum is full of great writing advice.

Recently, he came home with a handout called “Six traits of great writing.” The advice outlined in the handout is basic, but it remains important for writers of all stripes.

Here are the traits along with a few takeaways.

Ideas and content

• Observe first; tell next.
• Develop supporting details before you start writing.
• Use a balance of showing and telling.
• Make your message clear to the reader.


• Link ideas together so there is a beginning, middle, and end.
• Use a variety of transitional words.
• Your introduction should grab the reader.
• Your conclusion should link back to the introduction.

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