Increasing Comprehension in ELT with Graphic Organizers

Sylvia G. Ramirez

Part of the series of articles for the Reading Strand of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. This post looks at how by increasing comprehension with graphic organisers, Teacher’s can aid learners in being able to integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats.

One strategy to promote increased comprehension is to use graphic organizers to deconstruct—that is, analyze or break into parts—the text. Graphic organizers are a valuable tool for helping students increase their understanding of a text. Here are three examples for advanced level students.

Venn Diagrams. This type of graphic organizer depicts relationships between concepts. For this example, students read an article titled “Volunteering While At College”.

Example #1 (Ventures Transitions, p. 28, Exercise 2)

After reading the article, students complete a Venn Diagram in the Ventures TransitionsWorkbook to analyze similarities and differences between two volunteers in the article.

[Ventures Transitions Workbook, p.14, Lesson 2]

Timelines. A timeline shows a sequence of events in chronological order. For this task, students read “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

Example #2 (from Ventures Transitions, p. 86, Lesson 2)

In the companion workbook, students scan the same article for a variety of time words and phrases and then organize the information sequentially.

[Ventures Transitions Workbook, p. 44, Lesson 2]

Charts. Charts display text and/or data graphically. Charts are used for several purposes including to compare and contrast information, locate main ideas and key details, and match key details with examples. In this activity, students read, “Good Business Writing Doesn’t Beat Around the Bush.”

Example #3 (from Ventures Transitions, p. 98, Exercise 2)

As a follow up to the reading, students complete a chart in the workbook that reviews the identified problems. Then students search for consequences and sometimes infer solutions for these problems. Inference is an important skill to promote at advanced levels, requiring students to develop conclusions based on evidence and their own reasoning.

[Ventures Transitions Workbook, p.50, Lesson 2]

In conclusion, consider using graphic organizers to deconstruct text. You are not only helping your student develop skills using graphic organizers, but you are also helping them develop a coherent understanding of the topic.


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