K-W-L and K-W-L Plus

Middle Elementary and above

  • Assess/develop/activate prior knowledge
  • Motivation
  • Advance organizer
  • Set purpose for reading
  • Link new information to prior knowledge
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Public presentation
  • Postreading–comprehension

K-W-L is a strategy that can be used with any text but is probably most effective with expository text. It can be used with individuals or groups of students who are at least 8 years old. Before starting the procedure, the teacher draws three columns on the board labeling each column as shown in the example below:Plus-Graphics

Strategy steps:

  1. Introduce the topic of the reading selection.
  2. Students list what they already know about the topic in the first column.
  3. Students list what they want to know about the topic in the second column.
  4. The students read, discuss, and study the assigned text.
  5. Students list what they learned in the third column.

A strategy modification: Add a fourth column (“What I Still Want To Know”). In this column, students list any topic that they wanted to learn but still did not know at the end of their study and any new line of inquiry that was triggered by their reading and discussion. The students can then:

  • Begin their research.
  • Prepare their findings in a report or presentation.
  • Share information with class.

With the addition of this modification, the strategy is usually referred to as K-W-L plus.