Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strategy: KWL

KWL is a simple literacy strategy that has quickly become a essential tool of literacy specialists. It stands for "Know, Want, Learn" and can be used to help students navigate a text.

Students start by brainstorming what they already know about the topic of the text. Then, they generate a list of things that they want to know. While reading, or while reflecting on the completed text, students make a list of things they learned.

This site from a University of Indiana course provides a good overview of KWL, as well as an example of what a completed KWL chart might look like.

KWL can easily be applied to Social Studies classes. It allows students to reflect on their understanding of an issue and focus their reading to fill gaps in understanding. Here are a few examples:

  • The site has a great 3-lesson plan involving KWL and state history.
  • The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development provides an example of a KWL chart for a lesson on the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
  • This teacher has a KWL chart available for download and has added an "H" to the chart, encouraging readers to think about how they will learn more about the subject.

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