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Using Graphic Organizers to Respond to Text

There are so many different ways to assess your students on their knowledge and understanding of a text. When I was in the classroom, I loved to use a scaffolded approach to this. One of my favorite tools for my students to use in response to text was, and still is,  graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are super helpful learning tools which help students to organize, clarify, and sort through all kinds of information found in a literary text.

Responding to Text with Graphic Organizers is a great way to scaffold reading and thinking skills for students

The Benefits of Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are such a wonderful tool with lots of benefits. One of the things I love most is the ability to teach students important thinking skills by guiding their thinking with graphic organizers. This really helps students to learn to think like readers with both fiction and non-fiction texts.

Graphic organizers provide a visual reminder of thinking processes for studnets

Another important benefit is that graphic organizers provide a visual that students can use in their text response. For your visual learners this is a huge benefit. Not only do they respond better with a visual but they will better remember those important thinking skills when they can “see” them.

Graphic organizers also increase student engagement. They provide a hands on approach to learning as students actively participate in the learning process. Skills such as brainstorming, organizing content, and critical analysis & reflection are all utilized when completing graphic organizers. They help to take these complex skills and break them into smaller steps.

How to use graphic organizers?

Graphic organizers can be used in so many different ways in the classroom. They are perfect for whole group instruction as new skills are being taught. Complete them together as a class and use them to model important thinking skills. You can easily walk around to assess student knowledge along the way.

These printable and digital graphic organizers are a great tool for any book.  Students can respond to fiction and nonfiction text.

Students can also use them as part of their independent reading routine. When students know that they must do a reading response, there is a bit of accountability built in. Students are less likely to spend their independent reading time day dreaming or just flipping pages. You can use them as part of in class independent reading or homework instead of a traditional reading log. As students read at home, have them complete one or more reading response organizers for the week.

In my classroom I also used graphic organizers in our small group reading instruction. This allowed me to easily differentiate for the reading skills that each group needed to work on. Additionally, they are a wonderful tool for struggling students and those with learning disabilities. These students tend to get easily overwhelmed with reading tasks, and the organizers really helps to break down the response into smaller components. This allows them to focus on one thing at a time and avoid the frustration.

Graphic Organizers and Fiction

Students can work on identifying and describing story elements and more with graphic organizers.  They make a great tool for responding to text

Did you know that students can respond to text that they have read and that they have heard. In my classroom, one of our favorite times was read aloud time! I loved intentionally choosing novels to read throughout the school year to cover different standards with my class. The kids’ eyes light up as you read aloud to them. After reading, we would use graphic organizers to respond to the story. This gives us wonderful opportunities to learn and practice a variety of reading and thinking skills.

Graphic organizers are also great response tools when students read independently. The students love having a guide to their text response. I loved using these organizers as informal assessments. You can get a really good picture of a student’s reading comprehension skills by reviewing what they put into this response tool.

Important Reading Skills for Fiction

digital text response activities add an element of fun and engagement with using technology

When teaching fiction, there are many standards and skills that you can cover. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • Character Identification
  • Identifying the Setting
  • Story Elements
  • Summarizing and Retelling
  • Making Connections
  • Character Traits and Feelings

Graphic organizers and non-fiction

Non-fiction text provides unique teaching opportunities that aren’t found in fiction books and stories. In life, our students will do so much non-fiction reading, so it’s important that we help them with learn to efficiently read and comprehend non-fiction.

important skills for non-fiction

captions graphic organizer helps students learn the purpose of this nonfiction text feature

Here are some of the non-fiction specific reading skills your students will need to learn and practice:

  • Identifying Facts
  • Main Idea & Supporting Details
  • Facts & Opinions
  • Non-Fiction Text Features
  • Author’s Purpose

fitting it all in

It can be tough to think of all the different reading skills we have to teach our students in a school year. As primary teachers, many of these are new skills and strategies which we are introducing to our students for the first time. No fret – graphic organizers are a wonderful, visual way to help our students grasp these new skills.

What if I told you all of the reading skills you need to teach can be taught and assessed using graphic organizers? That’s right! In my experience I have found them to be such a useful tool in the classroom to support student learning.

student reading

Over the years I have put together a lot of different graphic organizers for my students. They have been so successful that I pulled them all together and I’m excited to share the ultimate Graphic Organizer bundle with you. Through careful design and creation, I have crafted a BUNDLE of graphic organizers which can be used for any literary text.

Over the last few years, the need to integrate technology into classroom activities has increased, and rightfully so. So I decided that reading response was a great way to do that. All of the graphic organizers are printable and digital!

digital graphic organizers can be used in class or with at home learning

grab your graphic organizer bundle!

You can grab this jam-packed Graphic Organizer Bundle in the Fun Time in First store. This resource covers all the fiction and non-fiction skills listed above, and more. And, you get every graphic organizer in 4 formats (pdf landcape, pdf portrait, digital color, digital black & white). My hope is that no matter your purpose or use, this bundle has exactly what you need.

Graphic Organizers are perfect for responding to text with both fiction and nonfiction.  These printable and digital graphic organizers are perfect for all your reading skills that need to be taught.

Save these graphic organizers

I hope you figure out a few ways to incorporate graphic organizers into your classroom. Your students will enjoy a different approach to learning, and you will notice that they become one of your favorite teaching tools. Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you that can quickly come back for more tips and ideas on responding to text.

Graphic organizers are a great tool for helping students respond to text.  These printable and digital reading response activities help students with reading comprehension and thinking skills.  Great for any book - fiction or nonfiction.


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