When you’re editing a paper, is it possible to edit with the six traits of good writing in mind? Absolutely! Here’s what you should ask yourself as you edit for each of the six traits:
Ideas and Content – Is the writer concentrating on the assigned topic? If so, could he/she do anything to make it more fascinating or unique to the audience?
Sentence Fluency – Read it out loud. Where do you struggle? Make note of those places where the writing just doesn’t make sense when read aloud.
Organization – Do the margins look right? Did the writer double-space? If it’s a letter, are the addresses in the right places? If it’s an essay, does it have a thesis statement or topic sentence? Did the writer make paragraph breaks? Does the writing have an introduction, body, and conclusion?
Word Choice – Does it look like the writer tried to use formal vocabulary (if it’s for a public audience)? If not, what “baby words” would you change to more professional-sounding words? Are there any sentences that might be phrased in a better way?
Conventions – Are there any spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or other grammar errors?
Voice – How did the writing make you feel? Did any part of it stand out to you as memorable? If so, what parts? If not, what can the writer do to make his/her writing really stand out?
If you’re a teacher, I have a number of Powerpoint presentations that help students edit their own (or each other’s) papers using the six traits of good writing as a model. Feel free to download them and use them in your classroom. Any time you use my creations, I’d appreciate it if you’d help promote this website by liking, pinning, and/or tweeting. Thanks!
And teachers, don’t forget that I’ve got a wonderful YouTube video on the steps in the writing process, which, of course, includes editing. Here’s a link.