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Lesson Plan

Scaffolding Comprehension Strategies Using Graphic Organizers

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 3 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three to four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susan Ruckdeschel

Susan Ruckdeschel

New York, New York


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1: Previewing the text

Session 2: Clunks, get the gist, and wrap-up

Session 3: CSR in action

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Record information using graphic organizers

  • Apply think-aloud strategies to aid in metacognition and verbalize their thinking

  • Preview text to generate questions and answers, stimulate prior knowledge, make predictions, and interact with print

  • Apply self-monitoring and self-correct strategies to aid in conceptual understanding of content material

  • Use summarization strategies to identify, process, and comprehend crucial information in a text

  • Discuss material with peers, monitor and correct their own work, encourage and support one another, and reinforce social skills in collaborative learning groups

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Session 1: Previewing the text

1. Model the previewing process for students by displaying the KWL Graphic Organizer on an overhead projector. Read the title of the text passage and preview the pictures.
  • Fill in the "K" portion of the organizer, by asking yourself, "What do I already know about this topic?" Think aloud by saying for example, "The topic is volcanoes . . . I know about Mount St. Helens . . . I know volcanoes spew hot, dangerous ash . . . "

  • Next fill in the "W" portion by asking yourself, "What do I want to know about this topic?" Again, verbalize your thoughts by saying, "I've always been curious about . . . I want to know why . . . "
After guiding students through the previewing process, facilitate more interactive responses for the "K" and "W" portions of the chart and record student responses.

2. Read the first few passages of the text aloud, then verbalize your thoughts about what new information you just learned. Fill in this information on the "L" portion of the chart.

3. Explain why students need to investigate and record what they already know ("K") and what they want to know ("W") about a topic before reading, and how this strategy will help them understand what they are about to read.

4. Instruct students to preview the next section of text and independently complete the "K" and "W" portions on their own KWL chart.

5. Have students read the section of text that they just previewed and complete the "L" portion of the chart, "What did I learn after reading about this topic?" Elicit responses from students and then discuss the previewing process with them:
  • What worked?

  • What did not work?

  • What difference did it make in their understanding of the text?

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Session 2: Clunks, get the gist, and wrap-up

1. Review cooperative learning roles by using students (or former students having practiced with this method) as role-players. Display the Cooperative Learning Roles on an overhead or projector screen for visual prompting. For reference during the lesson, a poster-sized version of the cooperative learning roles should be displayed in the classroom and students should also be given an individual handout. At this time, students should also review the Cooperative Learning Rubric that you prepared in advance of the lesson.

2. Display the Clunks and Clues Graphic Organizer on an overhead or projector screen and model the fix-up strategies for self-correction.
  • Walk students through each clunk by modeling how you use the various fix-up strategies. Clunk words should be preselected from a particular passage of text.

  • To model the get the gist strategy, ask students to identify the main idea from the preselected passage of text. Rephrase their responses on the worksheet using as few words as possible.
3. Demonstrate the wrap-up strategy using the QAD Graphic Organizer with question prompts.

4. At the end of this session, be sure to reinforce each of the cooperative learning roles. During the next session, students will be working in cooperative groups and using these roles.

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Session 3: CSR in action

1. Assign students into groups with mixed abilities. Assign a cooperative learning role to each student within a group.

2. Before reading. Instruct students to preview a selection of text before reading using the list on the KWL graphic organizer, and complete the "K" and "W" portions of the chart.

3. During reading. Have students complete the top portion of the Clunks and clues graphic organizer while reading, applying the fix-up strategies and coordinating their work using the assigned cooperative learning roles. Monitor students' progress by walking around the room and offering assistance. This is also a good opportunity for you to take anecdotal notes, which can be used for assessment.

4. After reading. Students complete the "Get the gist" portion of the Clunks and clues graphic organizer and then return to the KWL graphic organizer to complete the "L" portion. Students should then do a wrap-up by completing the QAD graphic organizer and discussing how the cooperative learning roles worked within their groups.

5. Facilitate a class discussion on how everything worked, particularly the sharing of cooperative learning roles and the various strategies for reading.

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  • Observation. Includes taking anecdotal notes, class records, and classroom circulation.

  • Graphic organizers. Includes the KWL Graphic Organizer, the Clunks and Clues Graphic Organizer, and the QAD Graphic Organizer. These graphic organizers should be filed in a folder during the lesson. You can have individual student conferences for review of graphic organizers and assign grades for them if you choose.

  • Student self-assessment. Have students rate their own behavior and the behavior of their peers using the Cooperative Learning Rubric. Review students' self and peer assessments and provide your own rating for each group. A whole-class discussion is suggested so that students are aware of their behavior, how well they did, and what they can do to improve future cooperative learning sessions.


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