Common Core Tips: Using Transitional Words in Writing

Use Transitions Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com
One of the keys to writing is using appropriate transitional words and phrases. For students who struggle with writing a cohesive essay or paper, it is essential that they use words that not only create a natural flow or progression, but link each point together.

Using transitions is also a key aspect in each type of writing in the Common Core State Standards. For example, read the following writing standards for grades 9-10:

For Writing Arguments
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims. 

For Writing Informative/Explanatory Texts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2c Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

For Writing Narratives
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
(source: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/9-10)

Each type of writing piece will require certain types of transitions. The narrative transitions will vary from the types of transitions used for clarifying the relationship between claims and counterclaims in argumentatives.
Transitions for Narratives Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com
The transitions for conveying a sequence and building suspense differ in a narrative from the counterpoints (or counterclaims) transitions in the argumentative chart.
Transitions for Arguments Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com

To make it easier for you and your students, I've created anchor charts of example transitions that are aligned with the writing standards for transitions for grades 6-12. You can download a free PDF copy in my teacher store here: Common Core Transitional Words Anchor Charts

Pin It
Transitions for Informative/Explanatory Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com

The free download has charts in black/white and in plain text worksheet format, as well.

In my news writing expository presentation (shown below), I give examples of unbiased transitions to use in objective writing pieces. Writing objective summaries is a staple in the Common Core State Standards for writing.
News Writing Example - Objective Transitions

I will be posting a bundle of Common Core writing resources soon, which will include graphic organizers and various exercises. In the meantime, I already have several excellent writing resources that help students through critical phases of the writing process, such as the news writing bundle above and the following resources:

Narrative Writing, Short Stories:

Informative Writing, News Writing:

Writing Style Rules: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Style-Rules-Rubric-Self-Peer-Editing-Checklist-Journalism

Creative Writing, Poetry:
Writing Anchor Chart Common Core www.traceeorman.com

Informative/Explanatory and Argumentative Writing:
FREE: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Writing-PEEL-Anchor-Chart

Thanks for stopping by my blog. If you find these helpful, feel free to "pin" them and pass them along to other teachers. :)


  1. I truly appreciate your hard work and sharing it so freely. The CCSS affects everyone, but often the higher grades are left out of the materials being created. THANKS!

    1. You are very welcome, Theresa! I agree that there is little out there for higher grades; I wish I could work faster on getting more resources out. Darn teaching gets in the way. haha Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I appreciate it!

    2. I love these...I am going to include them in my argumentative writing unit packet.
      I noticed you're following my blog. I've moved! Please continue to follow me at:

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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