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Six Traits Writing Workshop

Ideas     Organization     Word Choice     Sentence Fluency     Voice     Conventions

























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Ideas are the heart of writing. If given the opportunity, children will ask an author where they get their ideas, and author's will answer - from everywhere. We must teach children to tune in to their world and open up their eyes and ears. Ideas can come from life experiences, family stories, books, news events, art, music, tidbits of conversation, and many other places. The picture books listed here are excellent resources for helping children to discover ideas for their own writing. It's always a good idea to discuss where an author might have gotten their ideas after reading a book. Anytime you have a chance to make a note of where an author got their idea (sometimes they tell you on their website or when they present or in interviews) to share with the children. Children can keep "idea" lists in their writer's notebooks. You can make an "idea" box for children to utilize when they are fresh out of ideas. Try to help children understand that there are not any new topics, only fresh ways of exploring the topic. One way to teach ideas is to read a lot of books on one theme and discuss how each author wrote about the same thing but in a different way. The following books support teaching the trait of ideas.


All the Places to Love 

by Patricia MacClachlan                               

Use this book as a springboard for writing about favorite places.


Amelia's Notebook (Amelia)

by Marissa Moss                           

Students can follow Amelia's example and keep their own notebooks.


The Armadillo from Amarillo

by Lynne Cherry                            

Follow this armadillo's adventure and then make up an adventure of your own. 


If You Were a Writer

by Joan Lowry Nixon                                    

This wonderful book is a great way to introduce your students to the trait of ideas. 


The Bee Tree

by Patricia Polacco                                              

Family stories provide powerful writing ideas.  



Everybody Needs a Rock (An Aladdin Book)

by Byrd Baylor             

This book will inspire students to search for a special rock and write about it. 


I'm in Charge of Celebrations (Aladdin Picture Books)

by Byrd Baylor

Students can create and write about their very own celebratio 


The Important Book

by Margaret Wise Brown                                T

This book provides a classic writing pattern. Students can use the pattern in countless ways. They can write about themselves, a math concept, science subject or any others that you can dream up. 


The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Portfolio Edition)

by Chris Van Allsburg

Let Van Allsburg's artwork inspire your students to write fascinating stories. The pictures are also available in poster size.  


The Old Woman Who Named Things

by Cynthia Rylant     

Grandparents can be an great source of inspiration for student's writing. Rylant's books always provide wonderful ideas to get students moving along. 


The Relatives Came

by Cynthia Rylant                                  

Everyone has relatives, and each child's visits with family is unique and interesting. This book provides the perfect setting for getting creative juices flowing.


Night Tree

by Eve Bunting                                                       

Family traditions make for powerful story ideas. This beautiful account of a family tradition provides the right mix to get students thinking about their own traditions - real or wishful.


Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Public Television Storytime Books)

by Mem Fox

Objects are a source of strong emotions and memory. In this precious story, a child helps trigger the memories of an old lady in an nursing home. Students can bring in objects and write about their memories.


What You Know First (Trophy Picture Books)

by Patricia MacLachlan 

Here is another wonderful book for exploring wonderful places that you love, noticing the small things and dealing with moving. It's a rich book chalked full of writing inspiration.


Chrysanthemum (rpkg) by Kevin Henkes

This book opens the door for students to explore their own names, the meaning and story  behind it.


Wemberly Worried

by Kevin Henkes                                      

Worrying is human nature. Students can write stories about their own worries after reading Wemberly Worried.


Imagine a Night

by Rob Gonsalves                                               

The art in this book is amazing. Artist Rob Gonsalves rivals Van Allsburg in creativity and provides young writers with rich illustrations to weave stories upon.


Nothing Ever Happens On 90th Street

by Roni Schotter                     

Do your students claim they have nothing to write about? Then this is the perfect book to show your writers that stories are all around them.


Somewhere in the World Right Now (Reading Rainbow Book)

by Stacet Schett

If you think about all of the things that are going on in the world right at this moment, then you are opening your mind up to the millions of stories ideas, and countless possibilities.


It Looked Like Spilt Milk 

by Charles G. Shaw                                   

This is a classic for inspiring primary writers. Students can create their own "spilt milk" pictures and write about them.


You Have to Write 

by Janet S. Wong                                                  

Don't miss out on this gem. Wong creates poetry that sings while showing children how to empower their minds and spark their writing ideas.



Writing About Family


Reading texts with similar themes allows students to make text to text connections; to compare and contrast characters, settings, plots, and ideas; and to generate writing ideas through common experiences. Family stories, traditions and histories are wonderful examples of how to pull what you know into your writing. Teach children to listen to stories passed along through oral tradition and put those stories on paper. Help children to realize the writing potential of all of the stories that they want to tell about in class.

Keepers by Jeri Hanel Watts and Felicia Marshall (grandparents; recording memories)

Night Tree by Eve Bunting (family tradition)

My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston (recording family history)

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (mother’s love) *heart sticker

My Grandpa and the Sea by Katherine Orr (grandparents) *small seashell

My Ol’ Man by Patricia Polacco (father)

Abuela by Arthur Doros

Aunt Flossie’s Hats by Elizabeth Howard

Writing About Friends

Friends are an important part of children’s lives. Exploring friendship through picture books is an excellent way to support needed social skills. Friendships are a rich source of stories for children.

Best Friends by Steven Kellogg

Writing About School

Children know about school. It's a major part of their lives. They all have school experiences. Writing about school is a natural topic. 

We Share Everything by Robert Munsch


Writing About Secrets


For children, secrets are fun. Writing about secrets can bring out the creativity in kids. Dreaming up secrets allows their imaginations to free up and their writing to soar. 

Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr.

The Wise Woman and Her Secret by Eve Merriam

The Secret Knowledge of Grownups by David Wiesner

Writing About Memories

Everyone has memories. Memories (especially childhood memories) are rich resources for writer. Children can learn to tap into their memories (and the memories of parents and grandparents) for lots of wonderful writing ideas.

The Memory Box

Keepers by Jeri Hanel Watts and Felicia Marshall

The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis *new penny

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

When I Was Young In the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

Writing About Adventures

Children love adventures and tend to have great imaginations. Let their imaginations soar and allow them to write their own adventures.

Weslandia by Paul Fleishman

Using Your Imagination


In a day and time of high doses of t.v., game stations and the Internet, some children have learned to rely on outward visual sources for their imaginative wonderings. They never learned that mud is cake and a porch is a stage. For children who need lessons in play, read aloud these wonderfully imaginative picture books. 

Mud Is Cake by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Magic Hat by Mem Fox

Cook-A-Doodle-Do by Janet and Susan Stevens

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague


Updates for this page: Finish adding books. Add reviews and ratings script. Add downloads. Separate traits into different pages. Add books.

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