Unit 2:Graphic Organizers

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Graphic Organizers!



Graphic organizers are also becoming a mainstream tool for promoting reading comprehension. They can be high or low tech, used in an individual or whole class format, and can focus on a single word, sentence, idea or an entire written work. This versatility makes organizers a handy aide for new or struggling readers.
Within the reading environment, graphic organizers assist students in gathering thoughts in an easily depicted format-visually organizing. This is especially useful when searching for meaning within a written work. Studies have shown that Graphic Organizers (GO) can help to “identify salient details in a passage and eliminate extraneous information that frequently distracts poor readers….” (DiCecco & Gleason, 2002), i.e. organize information in a way that filters out the irrelevant and distracting details. For this mini-lesson, we will use Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" again to focus on organinizers that include a Story Map, KWL Chart and Venn Diagram.

For more organizer templates to assist in comprehension, visit these sites:

Story Map

Story Maps organize the structure and flow of the story into identifiable categories. This allows the reader to indentify pivotal points in the story and make particular conclusions about the content. Categorical organization allows the reader to explore each element to obtain the overall goal in comprehension-what is the story about?

Typically, Story Maps center around characters and events in an outline format. The title of the work is usually in the center, surroundedby Character, Setting, Problem and Resolution. Here's an example:

Story Map Template

The student will fill their interpretation of the elements. Unless there is obvious lack of relelvance, there is really no correct/incorrect answer for a Story Map-or any Graphic Organizer. The intention should always be allowing the student to organize thoughts and ideas into easily indentifiable areas.

Here is an example of a completed Story Map:


As with most interative Graphic Organizers, Story Maps can be edited for specific concentration areas other than the aforementioned, such as theme or point-of-view.

ReadWriteThink offers an ideal mapping tool, with customizable options for Character, Conflict, Resolution and Setting. Go here to try out these interactive Maps:ReadWriteThink-Story Map

Printable Story Maps:

You can also create your own story maps templates (or any Graphic Organizer) using Microsoft PowerPoint or Word. Here is a useful tutorial:
Creating a Story Map in PowerPoint

KWL Chart

What Is K-W-L?. K-W-L is the creation of Donna Ogle and is a 3-column chart that helps capture the Before, During, and After components of reading a text selection.

K stands for Know This is the prior knowledge activation question.

W stands for Will or Want What do I think I will learn about this topic? What do I want to know about this topic?

L stands for Learned What have I learned about this topic? ("ReadingQuest Strategies," 2012)

When attempting to instill comprehension, a KWL chart is an easy way to encourage students to think critically about a written work. Although it is useful in any area of reading, KWL charts are especially helpful for readers tackling longer works. KWL charts allow the reader to explore past knowledge of what they already read, or anything about the subject matter if they are just beginning the book. They should list what they have/will/want to learn and what they still want to know. This not only organizes their interpretations, but allows them to outline chapters for interpretive reflection. A simple for very effective tool for overall comprehension.

Here's a KWL template:

KWL Template

And, after reading Chapter One of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," a completed example:

KWL Charts give students the ability to go back to previous chapters for a summary of what they have learned, as well as their expectations for further chapters.
Other KWL examples:

Venn Diagram

Venn Diagrams are used in various capacities in education. Although they are mathematical in origin, they can also be especially helpful in comprehension.

Diagrams consist of two circular areas that overlap. The areas outside of the overlap showcase differences between the elements. Areas within the overlap show similarities between the two. From this, the student has a visual aid to organize these elements. It also shows the importance of character traits and how the contribute to the story.

Venn Diagrams are most often used in comprehension to compare and contrast certain elements within a story, including characters. This can include characters within the same story, or another story that they have recently read. Students fill in the respective areas based on their interpretation of specific commonalities and differences between two entitites-usually characters.

Here is an example template of a Venn Diagram:

Scholastic Venn Diagram

If we consider “Alice in Wonderland” again, we could use a Venn diagram to explore the elements of Protagonist and Antagonist, in this case, Alice and The Red Queen.
Here an example of a completed Venn Diagram:

640px-Alice queen.png

Venn Diagrams can be used anything that warrants comparing and contrasting, not just characters.

Interactive Venn Diagram:

Other Venn Diagram Templates:


DiCecco, V. M., & Gleason, M. M. (2002). Using graphic organizers to attain relational knowledge from expository text. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35, 306–320.
"Strategies for Reading Comprehension, K - W - L" Retreived from: http://www.readingquest.org/strat/kwl.html.

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