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KWL is a strategy typically used with nonfiction material. The students are to recall what they already know about a topic, what they want to know, and later what they have learned. It is also highly effective in introducing new themes or units of study, as well as a culminating activity.
  1. The teacher prepares a K-W-L chart on posterboard.

  2. The students brainstorm what they already know about the topic. The teacher records this information under the K on the chart. Important: Accept all predictions. This is not a “teaching” time, you are merely recording what they think they know about the topic. Later you can reexamine their speculations as to whether they were indeed true or not.

  3. Under the W, the teacher lists what the students want to know about the topic. These must be formed as questions.

  4. After completing the reading assignment, or unit of study, the teacher lists what the students have learned through their assigned reading or unit of study.

  5. Items listed under the L can be categorized using a key. For example, when listing what they have learned about mammals, the class could devise a key such as, D for description, F for food and L for location. These designations can then be placed next to each item listed under the L.

    Ogle, D. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher, 36(6), 564-570
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