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.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

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.

Word choice

• Use clear, colorful, vivid verbs.
• Use “thoughtful” adjectives.
• Use color and texture words to describe.
• Don’t overuse pronouns.
• Don’t be afraid to use new words.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.