How to Use Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension

Would you like to improve your students' reading and writing skills? Using graphic organizers for reading comprehension will make it easier for students to make sense of what they are reading, organize their thinking, and strengthen their writing abilities as well.


Would you like to improve your students' reading and writing skills? Using graphic organizers for reading comprehension will make it easier for students to make sense of what they are reading, organize their thinking, and strengthen their writing abilities as well. This post explains how.

WHAT IS A GRAPHIC ORGANIZER?

A graphic organizer is a visual display that organizes ideas and shows the relationships between concepts or information. Graphic organizers guide childrens' thinking and help them to comprehend what they read. Graphic organizers are also an important tool for guiding student writing. Using a graphic organizer helps students to see their thinking. They are most frequently used to...
  • brainstorm ideas
  • organize thoughts
  • structure a writing project
  • collect information while researching
  • increase reading comprehension
  • plan for literature circles and book talks
  • examine relationships in literature
  • guide student thinking

HOW TO USE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS:

Students need to be explicitly taught how to use a graphic organizer. To do this teachers should 

  1. SHOW the students the graphic organizer and invite them to make observations about it. Have them discuss what they see with their peers. Point out the features. During this step you and the students are simply citing what you see when you look at it.
  2. EXPLAIN in which situations the specific organizer may be used and how it will help them as a reader.
  3. MODEL how to fill in the graphic organizer. Reference the book you are using and narrate the process.
  4. Provide opportunities for the students to PRACTICE how to complete the organizer. They should use the same organizer you model, but with a different piece of text.
  5. Have the students COMPLETE their own graphic organizer independently. If you feel there is still a need for support you could work in a small group or plan cooperative learning experiences for peer partner work.
TIP: Avoid introducing multiple organizers at one time. Instead allow students to become proficient in using one organizer before working with another. Continue to revisit each organizer over time throughout the school year.

WHAT SKILLS CAN YOU TEACH WITH GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS:

The skills that can be taught are endless. I have put together teacher-friendly (no prep and low ink) downloadable resource bundles that include thematc graphic organizers. The themed topics increase student interest and motivation. Best of all they can be used with ANY book so you can use the same organizer multiple times. The other benefit is that teachers can have students complete the same organizer, but with different books at their own reading level. This makes it so quick and easy to modify learning. Each packet includes 20 graphic organizers designed to be use to teach…
  • predicting
  • sequencing
  • story mapping
  • summarizing
  • character traits
  • schema
  • brainstorming / webbing
  • identifying facts
  • main idea and supporting details
  • non-fiction text features
  • gathering information
  • comparing and contrasting
  • cause and effect
  • fact and opinion
  • note taking
  • vocabulary and author word choices
  • visualizing
  • making connection
  • sorting information
  • report writing
  • retelling
Would you like to improve your students' reading and writing skills? Using graphic organizers for reading comprehension will make it easier for students to make sense of what they are reading, organize their thinking, and strengthen their writing abilities as well. This post explains how.
{Click to access and download the: October Graphic Organizers for Reading Resource}

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