4 Reasons Why Graphic Organizers Boost Reading Comprehension

If you have followed my blog for long, you know that using graphic organizers is seriously something that I wouldn't be able to teach reading without. I believe that they help boost students' ability to understand what they've read. Below, are four reasons why I believe that graphic organizers help to boost reading comprehension for upper elementary students.

Graphic Organizers Give Readers a Purpose

Graphic organizers give students one mission when they are reading. Some of our students are so overwhelmed by the words on the page. They've been taught this skill or that skill. They've worked hard to decode various words or understand specific vocabulary. We know author's often write with a purpose. Well, readers need a purpose too. Why are we spending time reading this particular passage? By giving students a graphic organizer, you are allowing them to stop focusing on everything else and only focus on comprehension and practice a specific skill.

I love to use graphic organizers in science and social studies. The text in the science or social studies book can be overwhelming! In one particular section, what is the ONE thing you want your kids to focus on. In this particular section, I wanted to know what caused the crowd in Boston to grow larger and cause them to become violent. 

Graphic Organizers Help Readers Do Complex Things

Have you ever had something that seems so challenging or difficult, but once you do the first three steps, you realize how easy it is? I have done this so many times with so many things. Most of our reading tasks are simple IF we are able to take them one step at a time. I believe this about even difficult things that we are forced to shove down our students' throats for standardized testing. 

If I'm struggling to support an open-ended question with evidence from the text, I'm going to be overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many sentences in the text. I won't know where to start. But, if I've been trained to use a graphic organizer, writing four to five sentences to explain my answer will be a piece of cake after a LOT of practice. Graphic organizers help them do more complex skills by breaking down their thinking into manageable pieces. 

Graphic Organizers Make Differentiating Easy

I love to give different graphic organizers to different students. At a quick glance, they look similar. In reality, maybe I've provided an inference for students who need more support. Maybe I've provided sentence stems. Maybe some students aren't ready for difficult reading skills, like finding theme, when they need more help just understanding what the setting of a story is. Various groups of students could have different graphic organizers while reading the same or similar texts. 

Graphic Organizers Help Improve Writing

Writing is so hard for my students. I don't know about yours. To get ANY type of organized writing out of them feels impossible. When it comes to standardized testing, kids never know what to put on that planning page. Enter--THE HAND-DRAWN GRAPHIC ORGANIZER! 

After we have used graphic organizers over and over and over again during reading. They know exactly what they are looking for when it comes to their own writing. Well, they may not know it right away, but they can be trained to know what to write.