Kristina's Favorite Picture Books for Teaching the 6 Traits

6 Traits of Writing--Picture Book Recommendations

Many teachers choose to introduce each of the 6 Traits by reading a text that exemplifies the trait. Students can see the trait in action within such mentor text.

Picture books are a great option. The text is short (which is important for a mini-lesson) and engaging for students--even those in middle school and high school!

Below is a list of suggested titles. Most teachers read a different book to represent each trait. But, if you are looking for a single title that demonstrates all 6 Traits, look for the * at the end of each title/author. These are texts that would work for all 6 Traits. (Download a PDF version of Kristina's 6-Traits Picture Book Recommendations.)


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Ideas Kindergarten David's Drawings, Cathryn Falwell
  Good Dog, Carl, Alexandra Day
Grade 1 This is My Hair, Todd Parr (out of print)
  Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Mem Fox
Grades 2-3 Pictures from our Vacation, Lynne Rae Perkins
  Fireflies! Julie Brinckloe*
Grades 4-5 Saturdays and Teacakes, Lester Laminack*
  Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, Roni Schotter
Grades 6-12 The Table Where Rich People Sit, Byrd Baylor
  The Other Side, Jacqueline Woodson*
Other Mentor Text American Pepper, an urban legend*
for 6-12 Detailed novel excerpt, or a prologue


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Organization Kindergarten One Duck Stuck, Phyllis Root
  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
Grade 1 Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild, Mem Fox*
  Scaredy Squirrel, Mélanie Watt*
Grades 2-3 When Sophie Gets Angry, Molly Bang*
  Roller Coaster, Marla Frazee
Grades 4-5 Probuditi! Chris Van Allsburg
  Blackout, John Rocco
Grades 6-12 The Relatives Came, Cynthia Rylant*
  Smoky Night, Eve Bunting*
Other Mentor Text The Carpet Fitter, an urban legend*
for 6-12 An excerpt with several transition words/phrases


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Voice
Kindergarten The Feelings Book, Todd Parr
  Today I Feel Silly, Jamie Lee Curtis
Grade 1 Monster at the End of this Book, Jon Stone*
  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Willems
Grades 2-3 Hattie the Bad, Jane Devlin
  The Recess Queen, Alexis O'Neill*
Grades 4-5 How Are You Peeling? Saxton Freymann
  Arnie the Doughnut, Laurie Keller
Grades 6-12 The Harmonica, Tony Johnston*
  Voices in the Park, Anthony Browne
Other Mentor Text An email exchange with voice revealed in emoticons
for 6-12 Greeting cards with the same theme, different voice


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Word Choice
Kindergarten Thesaurus Rex, Laya Steinberg*
  How Things Work in the House, Lisa Campbell Ernst
Grade 1 Max's Words, Kate Banks
  Fancy Nancy, Jane O'Connor*
Grades 2-3 Pajama Day, Lynn Plourde* (out of print)
  I'm Dirty, Kate & Jim McMullan
Grades 4-5 Walter the Farting Dog, William Kotzwinkle & Glenn Murray
  Verdi, Janell Cannon
Grades 6-12 Fox, Margaret Wild*
  Piggie Pie! Margie Palatini
Other Mentor Text A poem with precise language
for 6-12 Article on a specialized subject


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Sentence Fluency Kindergarten The Magic Hat, Mem Fox
Grade 1 The Napping House, Audrey Wood*
Grades 2-3 Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp, Carol Diggory Shields*
  Night in the Country, Cynthia Rylant
Grades 4-5 Come on, Rain! Karen Hesse*
  Dogteam, Gary Paulsen
Grades 6-12 Mr. George Baker, Amy Hest
  The Wall, Eve Bunting*
Other Mentor Text A poem with figurative language
for 6-12 Song lyrics with figurative language


6 Traits of Writing--Trait of Conventions
Kindergarten CDB! William Steig
Grade 1 Yo! Yes? Christopher Raschka
  Animals Black and White, Phyllis Limbacher Tildes*
Grades 2-3 Punctuation Takes a Vacation, Robin Pulver
  Has Anyone Seen My Emily Greene? Norma Fox Mazer
Grades 4-5 The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg*
  Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Doreen Cronin*
Grades 6-12 Eats, Shoots & Leaves (commas), Lynne Truss
  Girl's Like Spaghetti (apostrophes), Lynne Truss
  Twenty-Odd Ducks (20 different punctuation marks), Lynne Truss
Other Mentor Text Incoherent text message (abbreviations, no punctuation, etc.)
for 6-12 Same message written to different audiences

Introducing the 6 Traits of Writing
6 Traits of Writing Songs Upgrade
6 Traits of Writing Yearlong Bulletin Boards
Yearlong 6-Traits bulletin boards


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