K-W-L Charts - Maggie Demarse

K-W-L Charts
Maggie Demarse
Brief Description of the Strategy
K-W-L is an instructional strategy for aiding students in
establishing a framework and encourages students to construct
meaning from text
 The basic instructional activity consists of three parts.
1) Students identify what is KNOWN
2) What they WANT to know
3) And what they have LEARNED
 Allows students to take inventory of what they already know
and what they want to know
 Students can categorize information about the topic that they
expect to use
Benefits of the Strategy
Helps generate and organize
their background knowledge
 Helps set the purpose for reading and focuses attention on
key ideas
 Helps clear up misperceptions about the topic
When is it Implemented?
A K-W-L Chart should be used
before, during, and after
research projects
How would you implement this in your classroom?
What would it look like?
On the chalkboard, on an overhead, on a handout, or on
students' individual sheets
Before reading, students fill in the “know” column with
everything they already know about the topic
Then students predict what they might learn about the
topic in the “learn” column. It is a good idea to look at the
topic headings, pictures, and charts that are found in the
reading for this column
After reading, students fill in their knowledge gained from
the reading
How would this benefit ELLs? How would you
modify it?
For students ELL students the chart can be completed in
the first language or with illustrations
Variations of the K-W-L Chart
The K-W-L chart can be modified to include a fourth
column at the end, “W” which stands for "Further
Wanderings." This column is for students to propose new
questions they have as a result researching the topic
A fifth column can be added as well, “H”, (K-W-H-L-W)
for "How" the students intend to gather the information
once they've determined what they need to learn
K-W-L-PLUS and B-K-W-L-Q are variations of this
instructional activity
Variations of the Chart: K-W-H-L
K-W-H-L Chart:
access prior information on a topic or theme
identify primary and secondary resources to
develop a plan for accessing resources
identify attributes and characteristics to research.
So it should answer the questions: What do we already
know? What do we want to find out? How are we going to
find out? What resources can we access? What attributes
or characteristic should we focus on?
Variations of the Chart: K-W-L-PLUS
After completing a K-W-L chart, students go back to their
charts and make changes in their “K” column. This can be
done as a group or individually. They can indicate with
plus and minus signs information verified in the text (+)
and incorrect information from their prior knowledge (-)
Once this is completed students can develop a concept
map or graphic organizer integrating the information from
the text and their charts
Using the concept map or graphic organizer the students
can write a summary of the text
Variations of the Chart: B-K-W-L-Q
B-K-W-L-Q follows the same general steps as the K-W-L
chart except two steps are added. “B” is for building
background knowledge. “Q” is for new questions after the
initial reading and prior to further reading
With this chart an smaller additional text that is related to
the topic for study is used. This provides students with
some background knowledge related to the topic. In the
“B” column students describe or draw something about
the topic from the smaller reading
Students list new questions in the “Q” column they have
about the topic after the reading the smaller excerpt of
related text and prior to reading the required text.
Links to Internet Resources
(lesson plans)
http://www.graphic.org/kwhl.html (example of K-W-H-L chart)
http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/722 (ELL)
http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/tannen01.html (ELL)
Works Cited
"K-W-L Chart." Readwritethink.org. IRA/NCTE, 2012. Web. 07 July 2012.
"KWL Charts." KWL Charts. West Virginia Department of Education, 2012. Web. 07 July
2012. <http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/KWLCharts.html>.
Bomengen, Monica. "Reading Strategies for Struggling Readers: KWL Charts." Reading
Strategies for Struggling Readers: KWL Charts. BlogEngine.NET, 23 Aug. 2010. Web. 07 July
2012. <http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/post/2010/08/23/Reading-Strategies-that-Workfor-Struggling-Readers-KWL-Charts.aspx>.
"What Is K-W-L?" Instructional Strategies Online. Saskatoon Public Schools, 2009. Web. 07
July 2012. <http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/kwl/>.
"KWHL Chart." KWHL Chart. Graphic.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012.
"356.chetcuti: KWL Charts." 356.chetcuti: KWL Charts. University of Michigan, n.d. Web. 07
July 2012. <http://sitemaker.umich.edu/356.chetcuti/kwl_charts>.
Jayne, Laura. "Differentiation for All." K-W-L. Blogger, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012.

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