Finding a Topic
  1. Have I chosen a topic that I really like?
  2. Do I have something new to say about this topic?
  3. Am I writing about what I know and care about?
  4. Have I gathered enough information about it so that I’m ready to write?

Focusing the Topic
  1. Have I zeroed in on one small part of a bigger idea?
  2. Can I sum up my idea in a simple sentence?
  3. Have I chosen the information that captures my idea best?
  4. Have I thought deeply about what the reader will need to know?

Developing the Topic
  1. Am I sure my information is right?
  2. Are my details chock-full of interesting information?
  3. Have I used details that show new thinking about this idea?
  4. Will my reader believe what I say about this topic?

Using Details
  1. Did I create a picture in the reader’s mind?
  2. Did I use details that draw upon the five senses? (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing)
  3. Do my details stay on the main topic?
  4. Did I stretch for details beyond the obvious?


Creating the Lead
  1. Did I give the reader something interesting to think about right from the start?
  2. Will the reader want to keep reading?
  3. Have I tried to get the reader’s attention?
  4. Did I let the reader know what is coming?

Using Sequence Words and Transition Words
  1. Have I used sequence words such as later, then, and meanwhile?
  2. Did I use a variety of transition words such as however, because, also, and for instance?
  3. Have I shown how the ideas connect from sentence to sentence?
  4. Does my organization make sense from paragraph to paragraph?

Structuring the Body
  1. Have I shown the reader where to slow down and where to speed up?
  2. Do all the details fit where they are placed?
  3. Will the reader find it easy to follow my ideas?
  4. Does the organization help the main idea stand out?

Ending With a Sense of Resolution
  1. Have I wrapped up all the loose ends?
  2. Have I ended at the best place?
  3. Do I have an ending that makes my writing feel finished?
  4. Did I leave the reader with something to think about?


Establishing a Tone
  1. Can I name the primary tone of my writing? (For example: happy, frustrated, knowledgeable, scared, convincing)
  2. Have I varied the tone from the beginning to the end?
  3. Have I been expressive?
  4. Did I show that I care about this topic?

Conveying the Purpose
  1. Is the purpose of the writing clear?
  2. Does my point of view come through?
  3. Is this the right tone for this kind of writing?
  4. Have I used strong voice throughout this piece?

Creating a Connection to the Audience
  1. Have I though about the reader?
  2. Is this the right voice for the audience?
  3. Have I shown what matters most to me in this piece?
  4. Will the reader know how I think and feel about this topic?

Taking Risks to Create Voice
  1. Have I used words that are not ordinary?
  2. Is my writing interesting, fresh, and original?
  3. Have I tried to make my writing sound like me?
  4. Have I tried something different from what I’ve done before?

Word Choice

Applying Strong Verbs
  1. Have I used action verbs?
  2. Did I stretch to get a better word—scurry rather than run?
  3. Do my verbs give my writing punch and pizzazz?
  4. Did I avoid is, am, are, was, were, be, being, and been whenever I could?

Selecting Striking Words and Phrases
  1. Did I try to use words that sound just right?
  2. Did I try hyphenating several shorter words to make an interesting-sounding new word?
  3. Did I try putting words with the same sound together? (alliteration, assonance)
  4. Did I read my piece aloud to find at least one or two moments I love?

Using Specific and Accurate Words
  1. Have I used nouns and modifiers that help the reader see a picture?
  2. Did I avoid using words that might confuse the reader?
  3. Did I try a new word, and if so, did I check to make sure I used it correctly?
  4. Are these the best words that can be used?

Choosing Words That Deepen Meaning
  1. Did I choose words that show I really thought about them?
  2. Have I tried to use words without repeating myself?
  3. Do my words capture the reader’s imagination?
  4. Have I found the best way to express myself?

Sentence Fluency

Crafting Well-Built Sentences
  1. Do my sentences begin in different ways?
  2. Are my sentences of different lengths?
  3. Are my sentences grammatically correct unless constructed creatively for impact?
  4. Have I used conjunctions such as but, and, and so to connect parts of sentences?

Varying Sentence Length
  1. Do I include different kinds of sentences?
  2. Are some of my sentences complex?
  3. Are some of my sentences simple?
  4. Did I intermingle sentence types, one to the next?

Capturing Smooth and Rhythmic Flow
  1. Is reading the entire piece aloud easy?
  2. Do my sentences flow, one to the next?
  3. Do individual passages sound smooth when I read them aloud?
  4. Did I thoughtfully place different sentence types to enhance the main idea?

Breaking the “Rules” to Create Fluency
  1. Did I use fragments with style and purpose?
  2. Do I begin a sentence informally to create a conversational tone?
  3. Does my dialogue sound authentic?
  4. Did I try weaving in exclamations and single words to add emphasis?


Checking Spelling
  1. Have I used standard English spelling unless I chose not to for a good reason?
  2. Have I checked words with ie and ei?
  3. When adding suffixes to words, have "i" changed the "y" to "i", doubled the final consonant, or dropped the silent "e" when necessary?
  4. Have I checked my work for words I have trouble spelling?

Punctuating Effectively and Paragraphing Accurately
  1. Did I place quotation marks around dialogue and direct quotes?
  2. Did I punctuate complex sentences correctly?
  3. Did I use apostrophes to show possessives and contractions?
  4. Did I begin new paragraphs in the appropriate places?

Capitalizing Correctly
  1. Did I capitalize proper nouns for people, places, and things?
  2. Did I capitalize dialogue correctly?
  3. Did I capitalize abbreviations, acronyms, and people’s titles correctly?
  4. Did I capitalize the title and/or other headings?

Applying Grammar and Usage
  1. Did I use special words such as homophones, synonyms, and antonyms correctly?
  2. Did I check my sentences for subject-verb agreement?
  3. Did I use verb tense (past, present, future) consistently throughout my piece?
  4. Did I make sure pronouns and their antecedents (the words they stand for) agree?


Applying Handwriting Skills
  1. Is my handwriting neat and legible?
  2. Did I take time to form each letter clearly?
  3. Do my letters slant in the same direction throughout?
  4. Does my spacing between words enhance readability?

Using Word Processing Effectively
  1. Is my choice of font and style easy to read and appropriate for the audience?
  2. Is the font size appropriate?
  3. Did I use formatting such as boldfacing, underlining, and italicizing effectively?
  4. Does color enhance the look and feel of my piece—or does it weaken them?

Making Good Use of White Space
  1. Do my margins frame the text evenly on all four sides?
  2. Did I leave enough white space between letters, words, and lines to make the piece easy to read?
  3. Did I avoid cross-outs, smudges, tears, and wrinkles?
  4. Did I create a nice balance of text, text features, illustrations, photographs, and white space?

Refining Text Features
  1. Do my illustrations and photographs help make the piece easy to understand?
  2. Did I include my name, date, title, page numbers, headers, and footers?
  3. Are text features such as bulleted lists, sidebars, and timelines clear, well positioned, and effective in guiding the reader and enhancing meaning?
  4. Are charts, graphs, and tables east to read and understand?