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March 12, 2014



Appropriate Grade Level: 3rd to 12th Grade

Purpose: Improve Reading Comprehension by activating background knowledge.

The K-W-L strategy stands for what I Know, what I Want to learn, and what I did Learn.
By activating students' background knowledge, it improves comprehension of expository


1. Overhead Projector
2. Transparency and individual student paper copies of the K-W-L Chart, one per

A. "Know" Step:

1. Initiate discussion with the students about what they already know about the topic
of the text.
2. Start by using a brainstorm procedure. Ask the students to provide information
about where and how they learned the information.
3. Help them organize the brainstormed ideas into general categories.

B. "Want to Learn" Step:

1. Discuss with the students what they want to learn from reading an article.
2. Ask them to write down the specific questions in which they are more interested.

C. "What I Learned" Step:

1. Ask the students to write down what they learned from the reading.
2. Ask them to check the questions they had generated in the "Want to Learn" Step.

Evaluation of Effectiveness:
Compare the students' scores on comprehension questions or skill sheets or reading tests
before and after implementation of this intervention.

Bos, C.S. & Vaughn, S. (2002). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior
problems. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

K-W-L Chart
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KWL_table 12,
march 2014
KWL table
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A KWL table, or KWL chart, is a graphical organizer designed to help in learning. The letters
KWL are an acronym, for what students, in the course of a lesson, already know, want to know,
and ultimately learn. A KWL table is typically divided into three columns titled Know, Want and
Learned. The table comes in various forms as some have modified it to include or exclude

It may be useful in research projects and to organize information to help study for tests.

 1 Classroom Introduction
 2 Purpose for using KWL charts
o 2.1 Study Tool
o 2.2 Specific Learners
 3 Adaptations
o 3.1 Hill
o 3.2 KLEW
o 3.3 Mooney
 4 Assessment and Evaluation
 5 See also
 6 References

Classroom Introduction
The KWL chart was created by Donna Ogle in 1986 [1] A KWL chart can be used for all subjects
in a whole group or small group atmosphere. The chart is a comprehension strategy used to
activate background knowledge prior to reading and is completely student centered. The teacher
divides a piece of chart paper into three columns. The first column, 'K', is for what the students
already know about a topic. This step is to be completed before the reading. The next column,
'W', is for students to list what they want to learn about the topic during the reading. This step is
also to be completed before the reading. The third column, 'L', is for what the students learned
from the reading. This step, of course, is done after finishing the reading. The KWL chart can
also be used in reading instruction at the beginning of a new unit.

Here is what the KWL chart can look like:


What I know What I want to know What I learned

Write the information Write the information about After the completion of the lesson or
about what the students what the students want to unit, write the information that the
know in this space. know in this space. students learned in this space.

A KWL chart can be used to drive instruction in the classroom. The teacher can create lesson
plans based upon the interests and inquiries of the students and their needs. Using this strategy
can increase motivation and attention by activating the students' prior knowledge. This allows
the teacher to understand the students' prior knowledge and the students' interests in the topic.

Purpose for using KWL charts

A teacher has many reasons for using KWL charts in the classroom. First, a KWL chart activates
students' prior knowledge of the text or topic to be studied. By asking students what they already
know, students are thinking about prior experiences or knowledge about the topic. Next, KWL
charts set a purpose for the unit. Students are able to add their input to the topic by asking them
what they want to know. Students then have a purpose for participating and engaging in the
topic. Also, using a KWL chart allows students to expand their ideas beyond the text used in the
classroom. By being aware of students' interests, the teacher has the ability to create projects and
assignments that the students will enjoy. A KWL chart is a tool that can be used to drive
instruction as well as guide student learning.[2]

Study Tool

A KWL chart can be used as a study tool. This may work as a study tool for an individual, group
or entire class. It is a way to synthesize information into a visual aid. The students are also able
to keep track of what they have done and what they still would like, or need to do.[3]

Specific Learners

KWL charts can be used with all students. However, there are specific groups of students that
lend themselves quite well to this strategy, including visual learners, young learners or ESL
learners. As the chart is a graphic organizer, it can aid visual learners. The information is
presented in a user-friendly way that is visually accessible.[4] Due to the visual nature of the
KWL chart, it can also be beneficial for young learners such as preschoolers. Words may not be
necessary and pictures can be used in order to express the ideas within the chart.[5] As pictures
can be used alone or in conjunction with words, the KWL chart may provide assistance for
students that are learning a second language.

There are various adaptations of KWL charts that can be used within the classroom.

One adaptation as created by Hill[6] is an extension of the traditional KWL chart to include a
column for "Further Wanderings" at the end of the table. This allows for the students knowledge
to continue beyond what they have learned within the classroom. The idea behind this extra
column is to encourage the students to continue to learn.[7]


Another adaptation of the KWL chart is the KLEW chart.[8] The KLEW chart was developed by
a group of people with various backgrounds including an elementary school teacher, a professor
and a professional development specialist.[9] Within this chart, the "K" stands for what students
know of a topic, the "L" for what is being learned, the "E" for evidence that supports the learning
previously described, and the "W" for wondering, which leaves room for further questions.[10]
This table differs from the traditional KWL chart as it places an emphasis on observation and
examination of evidence that supports what they see.[11]


Margaret Mooney suggested a variation to the KWL chart by adding a fifth column to the
traditional chart. This column would be located between the "W" and the "L". Its purpose is to
answer the question "How".[12] This encourages the students to develop their own means of how
they will discover more information. This can be quite useful in the sciences for experimentation

Assessment and Evaluation

The KWL chart is useful to complete formative assessment in the classroom. It allows the
teacher to find out the students prior knowledge on a particular topic.[13] From this knowledge the
teacher is then able to gear their lessons based upon this information. The KWL chart can be
completed when starting a new topic and be added to throughout the unit. Further, the teacher is
able to find out what the students have learned by the end of their lessons.

KWL charts work well in order to examine the individual student or the entire class in order to
understand their thinking and learning.[14]

See also
 SQ3R

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has
insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more
precise citations. (January 2011)

1. Jump up ^ Ogle, D.M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of
expository text. The Reading Teacher, 39, 564-570
2. Jump up ^ KWL table/ chart. (2009). Retrieved October 26, 2012, from
3. Jump up ^ KWL table/ chart. (2009). Retrieved October 26, 2012, from
4. Jump up ^ McDermott, M. J. (2012). Using graphic organizers in preschool. Teaching
Young Children, 5(5), 29-31.
5. Jump up ^ McDermott, M. J. (2012). Using graphic organizers in preschool. Teaching
Young Children, 5(5), 29-31.
6. Jump up ^ Instructional strategies online. (2009). Retrieved October 26, 2012, from
7. Jump up ^ Instructional strategies online. (2009). Retrieved October 26, 2012, from
8. Jump up ^ Hershberger, K., Zembal-Saul, C., & Starr, M. L. (2006). Evidence helps the
KWL get a KLEW. Science & Children, 43(5), 50-53.
9. Jump up ^ Hershberger, K., Zembal-Saul, C., & Starr, M. L. (2006). Evidence helps the
KWL get a KLEW. Science & Children, 43(5), 50-53.
10. Jump up ^ Hershberger, K., Zembal-Saul, C., & Starr, M. L. (2006). Evidence helps the
KWL get a KLEW. Science & Children, 43(5), 50-53.
11. Jump up ^ Hershberger, K., Zembal-Saul, C., & Starr, M. L. (2006). Evidence helps the
KWL get a KLEW. Science & Children, 43(5), 50-53.
12. Jump up ^ Instructional strategies online. (2009). Retrieved October 26, 2012, from
13. Jump up ^ Struble, J. (2007). Using graphic organizers as formative assessment. Science
Scope, 30(5), 69-71.
14. Jump up ^ Struble, J. (2007). Using graphic organizers as formative assessment. Science
Scope, 30(5), 69-71.

 McKenna, M. (2002) Help for struggling readers: strategies for grades 3-8. New York:
The Guilford Press.
 Valmont, W. (2003). Technology for literacy teaching and learning. New York:
Houghton Mifflin Company.
 Allington, R. and Cunningham, P. (2003). Classrooms that work. Boston: Allyn and
 Padak, N. and Rasinski, T. (2004). Effective reading strategies: teaching children who
find reading difficult. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
 Buehl, D. (2006). Classroom strategies for interactive learning. Delaware: International
Reading Association.
 Jones, R. (2007). "Readingquest strategies." http://www.readingquest.org/strat/kwl.html
 Conner, J. (2006). "Instructional reading strategy: KWL"
http://www.education.com/reference/article/K-W-L-charts-classroom/ March 12, 2014

K-W-L Charts
Collect It!
By G.E. Tompkins — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Teachers use K-W-L charts during thematic units to activate students’ background knowledge
about a topic and to scaffold them as they ask questions and organize the information they’re
learning (Ogle, 1986). Teachers create a K-W-L chart by hanging up three sheets of butcher
paper on a classroom wall and labeling them K, W, and L; the letters stand for “What We
Know,” “What We Wonder,” and “What We Learned.”

This procedure helps students activate background knowledge, combine new information with
prior knowledge, and learn technical vocabulary related to a thematic unit. Students become
curious and more engaged in the learning process, and teachers can introduce complex ideas and
technical vocabulary in a nonthreatening way. Teachers direct, scribe, and monitor the
development of the K-W-L chart, but it’s the students’ talk that makes this such a powerful
instructional procedure. Students use talk to explore ideas as they create the K and W columns
and to share new knowledge as they complete the L column.

Teachers follow these steps:

1. Post a K-W-L chart. Teachers post a large chart on the classroom wall, divide it into
three columns, and label them K (What We Know), W (What We Wonder), and L (What
We Learned).
2. Complete the K column. At the beginning of a thematic unit, teachers ask students to
brainstorm what they know about the topic and write this information in the K column.
Sometimes students suggest information that isn’t correct; these statements should be
turned into questions and added to the W column.
3. Complete the W column. Teachers write the questions that students suggest in the W
column. They continue to add questions to the W column during the unit.
4. Complete the L column. At the end of the unit, students reflect on what they’ve learned,
and teachers record this information in the L column of the chart.

Sometimes teachers organize the information on the K-W-L chart into categories to highlight the
big ideas and to help students remember more of what they’re learning; this procedure is called
K-W-L Plus (Carr & Ogle, 1987). Teachers either provide three to six big-idea categories when
they introduce the chart, or they ask students to decide on categories after they brainstorm
information about the topic for the K column. Students then focus on these categories as they
complete the L column, classifying each piece of information according to one of the categories.
When categories are used, it’s easier to make sure students learn about each of the big ideas
being presented.

Students also make individual K-W-L charts. As with class K-W-L charts, they brainstorm what
they know about a topic, identify questions, and list what they’ve learned. They can make their
charts in learning logs or construct flip books with K, W, and L columns. Students make
individual flip charts by folding a legal-size sheet of paper in half, lengthwise, cutting the top
flap into thirds, and labeling the flaps K, W, and L. Then students lift the flaps to write in each
column. Checking how students complete their L columns is a good way to monitor their

This table shows A K-W-L chart developed by a kindergarten class as they were hatching chicks.
The teacher did the actual writing on the K-W-L chart, but the children generated the ideas and
questions. It often takes several weeks to complete this activity because teachers introduce the K-
W-L chart at the beginning of a unit and use it to identify what students already know and what
they wonder about the topic. Toward the end of the unit, students complete the last section of the
chart, listing what they’ve learned.

A Kindergarten Class’s K-W-L Chart on Baby Chicks


(What We Know) (What we Want to Learn) What We Learned

 They hatch from
eggs.  Are their feet
 They sleep. called wabbly?
 They can be  Do they live in the
yellow or other woods?  Chickens' bodies are
colors.  What are their covered with feathers.
 They have 2 legs. bodies covered  Chickens have 4 claws.
 They have 2 with?  Yes, they do have
wings.  How many toes do stomachs.
 They eat food they have?  Chickens like to play in
 They have a tail.  Do they have a the sun.
 They live on a stomach?  They like to stay warm.
farm.  What noises do  They live on farms.
 They are little. they make?
 They have beaks.  Do they like the
 They are covered sun?
with fluff.
http://www.nea.org/tools/k-w-l-know-want-to-know-learned.html march, 12 2014

K-W-L (Know, Want to Know, Learned)

Article Sections
 Description
 Purpose
 How to use the K-W-L strategy
 Example


K-W-L (Ogle, 1986) is an instructional reading strategy that is used to guide students through a
text. Students begin by brainstorming everything they Know about a topic. This information is
recorded in the K column of a K-W-L chart. Students then generate a list of questions about what
they Want to Know about the topic. These questions are listed in the W column of the chart.
During or after reading, students answer the questions that are in the W column. This new
information that they have Learned is recorded in the L column of the K-W-L chart.


The K-W-L strategy serves several purposes:

 Elicits students’ prior knowledge of the topic of the text.

 Sets a purpose for reading.
 Helps students to monitor their comprehension.

How to use the K-W-L strategy

1. Choose a text. This strategy works best with expository texts.
2. Create a K-W-L chart. The teacher should create a chart on the blackboard or on an overhead
transparency. In addition, the students should have their own chart on which to record
information. (Below is an example of a K-W-L chart.)


3. Ask students to brainstorm words, terms, or phrases they associate with a topic. The teacher
and students record these associations in the K column of their charts. This is done until
students run out of ideas.

K Column Suggestions

o Have questions ready to help students brainstorm their ideas.

Sometimes students need more prompting than, “Tell me everything you
know about _____,” to get them started.

o Encourage students to explain their associations. This is especially

important for those associations that are vague or unusual. Ask, “What
made you think of that?”

Ask students what they want to learn about the topic. The teacher and students record these
questions in the W column of their charts. This is done until students run out of ideas for
questions. If students respond with statements, turn them into questions before recording them
in the W column.
W Column Suggestions

o Ask an alternative question for generating ideas for the W column. If, in
response to “What do you want to learn about this topic?” your students
are either having trouble coming up with ideas, or are saying, “nothing,”
try asking one of the following questions instead:

“What do you think you will learn about this topic from the text you will
be reading?”

Choose an idea from the K column and ask, “What would you like to learn
more about this idea?”

o Come prepared with your own questions to add to the W column. You
might want students to focus on ideas in the text on which the students’
questions are not likely to focus them. Be sure not too add too many of
your own questions, however. The majority of the questions in the W
column should be student-generated.

4. Have students read the text and fill out the L column of their charts. Students should look for
the answers to the questions in their W column. Students can fill out their L columns either
during or after reading.

L Column Suggestions

o In addition to answering the W column questions, encourage students to

write in the L column anything they found especially interesting. To
distinguish between the answers to their questions and the ideas they
found interesting, have students code the information in their L columns.
For example, they can put a check mark next to the information that
answers questions from the K column. And they can put a star next to
ideas that they found interesting.

o Have students consult other resources to find out the answers to

questions that were not answered in the text. (It is unlikely that all of the
students’ questions in the W column will be answered by the text.)

5. Discuss the information that students recorded in the L column.

Ogle, D.M. 1986. K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text.
Reading Teacher 39: 564-570.


Following is an example of a completed K-W-L chart that students might complete if they were
reading a text about gravity.


It keeps us What is gravity? Gravity is the force that pulls objects
from floating towards Earth.

It makes Why is there less The amount of gravity there is depends

things fall. gravity on the moon? on the masses of the objects involved.
The moon is a lot less massive than the
earth, so there is less gravity on the
moon than there is on earth.

How did Newton

There is less discover gravity?
gravity on the
What determines how Air resistance determines how fast
Isaac Newton fast something will fall something will fall to the ground.
discovered to the ground?
gravity. (teacher question)

* The students’ question about Newton was not answered in the text. Students should be
encouraged to consult other sources to find out the answer to this question.