Graphic Organizer

K-W-L-S Chart

3 - 8
Printout Type
Graphic Organizer

About this printout

This printable extends the familiar K-W-L's means of organizing students' prior knowledge, formulating inquiry questions, and recording new learning by adding space for questions for further inquiry.

This printout has been reproduced from the following book: McLaughlin, M. (2010). Guided comprehension in the primary grades. Newark, DE: International Reading Asssociation.


Teaching with this printout

The K-W-L (Ogle, 1986) is a well-known and effective tool for making the basic steps of inquiry visible to students.  It may limit students, however, into the perception of  “Learning” as a static end of a process when in fact, we know that the answer to one question often becomes the starting point for another.

  • When beginning an inquiry topic, project the printable and ask students list what they already know in the “Know” column.
  • Invite students to generate questions they hope to learn more about in the “Want to know” column.
  • As students are reading and reflecting, have them record new knowledge in the “What I learned” column.
  • When new questions arise, either in the process or when their inquiry is complete, have them generate questions they still have.  Record these in the “Still want to know” column.  Work with students to develop a plan for helping them find the answers to these remaining questions.


More ideas to try

  • When students have completed an inquiry project, ask them to use the completed “K-W-L” columns to present an informal oral report to a peer or small group.  Let the audience generate remaining questions for the author to record in the “Still Want to Know” column.  Ask students to use those questions to further their inquiry before composing a more formal report.
  • If students are inquiring into a common topic, use the class as a natural knowledge resource and ask students to share their “Still Want to Know.”  Call on the expertise of other students to develop answers to some of those questions.

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