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How to Use Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension in 2022

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn more about using graphic organizers in your classroom, then you found the right place! This post focuses on using graphic organizers for reading comprehension to improve students’ literacy skills. Graphic organizers are a powerful tool students can use to help them make sense of what they are reading, organize their thinking, and strengthen their writing abilities in the process. Learn all about graphic organizers and how to use them to improve reading comprehension below!

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 children’s 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.

8 Ways to Use Graphic Organizers

Below are common ways teachers use graphic organizers.

  • 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
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.

How to Introduce Graphic Organizers

Students need to be explicitly taught how to use a graphic organizer. To do this teachers should follow this 5 step framework: Show, explain, model, practice, and complete. A key point to note is that you should 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.

1. Show

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

Explain in which situations the specific organizer may be used and how it will help them as a reader.

3. Model

Model how to fill in the graphic organizer. Reference the book you are using and narrate the process.

4. Practice

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. Complete

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.

20+ Skills to Teach with Graphic Organizers

The skills that can be taught using graphic organizers are endless. I have put together themed graphic organizer template bundles. 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 the following skills.

  • 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

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers

Below are printable graphic organizers that you can use to improve your students’ reading comprehension skills. You can pick and choose which themes work best for your classroom. Think about science and social studies topics that you cover, as well as what books are in your classroom library.

October graphic organizersNovember graphic organizersDecember graphic organizersJanuary graphic organizers
February graphic organizer activitiesMarch reading graphic organizer activitiesApril-themed graphic organizer templatesmay reading activitiesJune reading activities

In closing, we hope you found this information about using graphic organizers to teach reading comprehension helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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.

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