Page Index:

Components of Writing

    Six Traits Model
    MCAS Scoring
Writing Programs

Components of Writing

These are the components of the Six Traits Model + 1:

1.       Ideas:    The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with the details that enrich and develop that theme.

2.        Organization:  Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing pattern of the ideas. The piece has a beginning, middle and an end.

3.       Voice:   The voice is the heart and soul, the magic, the will, along with the feeling and conviction of the individual writer coming out through the words. The reader should feel the enthusiasm of the writer.

4.       Word Choice:  Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens the reader.

5.        Sentence Fluency:  Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of work patterns, and the way in which the writing plays to the ear - not just to the eye. The sentences should be clear and easy to read.

6.        Conventions:  Conventions are the mechanical correctness of the piece - spelling, grammar and usage, paragraphing, use of capitals, and punctuation.

7.       +1 Presentation:  Presentation zeros in on the form and layout of the text and its readability: the piece should be pleasing to the eye.

The MCAS score guide, using 2 major areas:

     1. Topic / Idea Development
     2. English conventions



The MCAS Writing prompt Long composition scoring is broken down into these 2 areas, with 7 components:

Composition Topic:
1.       Topic Development
2.       Organization, Logical Conclusions
3.       Accurate, Relevant Evidence, Detail
4.       Voice, Tone, Style


Composition Conventions:
1.       Structure
2.       Grammar and Usage
3.       Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation

Here is a Rubric for Long composition (located on teacher's website):



Writing Programs

EmPOWER Writing Program
by Dr. Bonnie Singer, 
Architects For Learning®
(Previous known as 
Innovative Learning Partners)

What type of writing program is EmPower:

Highly structured, explicitly taught strategies, instructional in nature with direct processing for writing with the aid of specific visual tools enfolded in the writing process.

EmPOWER is an instructional routine for teaching students to write expository text.  It articulates the step-by-step approach to problem solving that a student must follow to develop a text, and it unveils the thought and language subroutines necessary for success.

The Landmark Method for Teaching Writing

The Landmark publications:

A Landmark School Teaching Guide
by Jean Gudaitis Tarricone

This book offers practical strategies for teaching writing at the paragraph and short essay levels. It emphasizes the integration of language and critical thinking skills within a five-step writing process. Sample templates and graphic organizers as well as exercises that teachers can use in their classrooms are included. (Appropriate for middle and secondary school learners.)

Thinking About Language
Helping Students Say What They Mean and Mean What They Say
A Landmark School Teaching Resource

by Roberta Stacey

Designed for professionals who work with elementary and middle-school students in language development, this book focuses on oral expression. Speech-language pathologists, special education instructors and classroom teachers will find this book is a useful as a diagnostic tool, as a guide for teaching receptive and expressive language skills, as a desk reference, and as a resource for word lists and practical templates for student use. The materials in this Teaching Resource have been refined through over thirty years of teaching students with language-based learning disabilities.

From Talking to Writing: Strategies for Scaffolding Expository Expression
A Landmark School Teaching Guide

by Terrill M. Jennings and Charles W. Haynes

This guide gives you tools to help children find topics, retrieve words, formulate sentences, or sequence their ideas. Help your students "get the words out" and "get them down on paper".
The teaching methodology in this book has been refined through over 30 years of teaching students with language-based learning disabilities. (Appropriate for individuals who work with students of any age or grade level who experience difficulty writing at the sentence and paragraph levels.)

Student Writing workbooks:

Paragraph Frameworks  and Sentence Frameworks
by Terrill M. Jennings and Charles W. Haynes

These two student workbooks that are intended for use with From Talking to Writing: Strategies for Scaffolding Expository Expression.

Project Read©/Language Circle©

Is a research based mainstream language arts program for students who need a systematic learning experience with direct teaching of concepts and skills through multisensory techniques.  Project Read© has five curriculum strands:
1. Phonology, 2. Linguistics, 3. Reading Comprehension – Report Form, 4. ·Reading Comprehension – Story Form, 5. Written Expression.
(See the Project Read website for more information.) 

P.O. Box 20631
Bloomington, MN  55420
(800) 450-0343

Writing/thinking Organizers:

Thinking Maps, Inc.

Thinking Maps®, developed by Dr. David Hyerle, are visual teaching tools. They're based on a simple yet profound insight: The one common instructional thread that binds together all teachers, from pre-kindergarten through postgraduate, is that they all teach the same thought processes.  

Story Grammar Marker(R)

by Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed, CCC-SLP and Judy K. Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP
The Story Grammar Marker® is a proactive tool that teaches comprehension and written expression across all curriculums.
The process of using The Marker connects language development to literacy. 
It is use to map out, identify and analyze significant components of narrative text (e.g., fiction, biographies, historical accounts)

MindWing Concepts
Springfield Enterprise Center
One Federal Street, Building #101-R
Springfield, MA 01105-1222
(413) 734-7476
(888) 228-9746

Graphic Organizer Forms (For elementary level) you can print out and use.


LD On Line articles about Writing (and spelling) Disabilities

Greatschools articles about Writing

Hand writing (Graphomotor), see our OT Therapy web page


This web page was created on September 20, 2005, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on February 16, 2010 - V8, by Melody Orfei