There is a good deal of
evidence that suggest that using graphical organizers for comprehension
instruction can help students more concretely visualize abstract and vague
concepts. Visual organizers such as a KWL chart can also help teachers
to assess what students already know and what they want to learn so they
can better cater instruction to meet students' needs.
However, I feel compelled to note that graphic organizers
are usually misused in classrooms. One of the most often-repeated
mistakes I see in classrooms is forgetting that graphic organizers are
tools to help students write -- they are a means to an end.
Filling out a graphic organizer is not a worthwhile goal -- USING
a graphic organizer to help plan and organize a final written essay IS
a worthwhile goal. Students who just fill out graphic
organizers gain little of value from the exercise, but students who
learn to use graphic organizers as tools in crafting a final, published
essay will be able to use those tools effectively for the rest of their
With that stern caveat in mind, I have created a collection of
graphic organizers (available
here for free in PDF format) that teachers can use in their classrooms.
There are ten organizers in the collection. They are:
-- The Spider Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Fishbone Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Storyboard / Chain of Events
-- The Venn Diagram Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Problem and Solutions Graphic
-- The Cycle Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Cluster Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Compare / Contrast Graphic
-- The KWL Graphic Orgainzer
-- The Five Ws and an H Graphic
For more information about teaching
comprehension skills, go to R
is for Reading Comprehension.