Printable Graphic Organizers
Writing and Comprehension
I’d like to share some free, printable graphic organizers for reading, such as story map graphic organizers, as well as templates for cause and effect, compare and contrast, and other text structures.
Reading comprehension is difficult for many of our students. They often have trouble organizing the information into their thinking. These graphic organizers for reading help them create the mental framework needed for comprehension. Consider these
printable graphic organizers as reading comprehension activities
to use with your students.
Although you can use a variety of graphic organizers while you teach, it’s probably best to just stick to a few for a longer time. Poor readers lack the metacognitive skills for comprehension. The graphic organizers help create the mental images necessary. If you use the same organizers over and over, you will basically help to imprint the template in their minds, plus teach the skill. Repetition is important! DON’T keep switching to different organizers. It’s too confusing for the readers!
Perhaps think of your organizer as an intervention. Use it for 4-6 weeks and see if comprehension is improving. Once you’ve used it enough, have it on hand in the classroom to see if students use it on their own. Perform pre and post tests on comprehension before and after the 6 week period to see if the organizers help. Then maybe add a new one for a different purpose.
A word on text structures, like cause-effect, compare-contrast, and description: Graphic organizers for reading can help students identify and understand these structures. When used with the appropriate text, research has shown improved comprehension for students, including those with learning disabilities. The problem I found is that your text is often a mix of these structures. The type of text structures must be deeply taught over time along with 1 or 2 text-structured graphic organizers.
Whether it’s an average reader or one with lower reading skills, a graphic organizer can be used as a comprehension tool. Use these graphic organizers for before, during, and after reading.
Before Reading Activities
These organizers are used to build background knowledge and for activating prior knowledge. The lack of background knowledge, or schema, that a student brings has been shown to be a major factor in the lack of comprehension.
During Reading Activities
Students of all reading abilities often have trouble with reading comprehension. Some readers don’t concentrate well. Some have poor memories. And others lack the
reading comprehension strategies
for greater comprehension.
Try one of these printable graphic organizers to help students organize their thinking. Remember, find one that works and stick with that one.
Write or Draw My Thinking Boxes
Story Map 1
Story Map 2
Topic and Details 1
Topic and Details 2
Wheel of Facts
Note Taking 1
Note Taking 2
Note Taking 1 with Main Point
After Reading Activities
Students can use one of the during reading graphic organizers or one of these, depending on the topic or content area.
Know and Learned
Sequence of Events
A Ticket to Leave
Text Structure Graphic Organizers
I’ve included some printable graphic organizers that teach text structure. Use these when you are explicitly teaching the particular structure in order for students to learn how to recognize the structure.
Cause and Effect
Compare and Contrast
Same and Different
Similar and Different
Both strong and weak readers benefit from using graphic organizers for reading comprehension, as well as organizing ideas to assist in writing. But the weaker readers often need the extra scaffolding to create that mental framework the strong reader already has. I hope that these printable graphic organizers might help with the reading comprehension activities in your classroom!
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