A Read-Write-Think Lesson Plan with Graphic Organizers

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Read, Write, Think

The International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English developed the “Read-Write-Think” concept to promote literacy. Read-write-think lessons allow students to “learn language, learn about language and learn through language.” Students develop strong critical thinking skills through read-write-think lesson plans.

The following lesson can be used across grade levels as well as across curriculum.

Building on Prior Knowledge

This lesson uses graphic organizers to record the what students know, before and after a text is read. The text may be a story, an article or a textbook lesson, which is why it can be used across curriculum. Students will be building on prior knowledge of the subject, reflecting on what they learned in order to apply it to their life.

Lesson Objective:

Enable students to

  • build on what they know of the subject before reading
  • gain knowledge that scaffold on prior understanding
  • reflect on knowledge known and gained
  • apply knowledge to life

Task One:

Before students begin reading a book, story or lesson, have them fill out a graphic organizer on what they already know about the subject. (Click here for Prior Knowledge Graphic Organizer.) This organizer asks them to list what they already know from experience about the subject, what they assume about the subject and what they have heard about the subject. Clarify for the students the difference in each of these areas. (Experience is something a person has actually lived through; assumptions are what we think we know; what we have heard is information that comes from others [i.e., hearsay])

Task Two:

Students read the text given, making notes on words that they don’t know and/or ideas that are confusing. The classroom teacher goes over these notes either individually or as a group.

Task three:

After the students finish reading the text, they are given a second graphic organizer. This organizer helps them reflect on what they learned from the text, why the information is important, and how they might use that information in their own lives. (Click here for Post Knowledge Graphic Organizer.)

Allow students to share their thoughts and discuss them with their classmates. This can be done in small groups. Have a spokesperson from each group share with the entire class.

Assessment and Modification

Assess the students on their ability to articulate what they know before and after the reading. There should be a marked difference between both. Informally assess their ability to work in small group and present to the class.

This can be modified for beginner readers by allowing students to draw pictures of what they know already with a second picture created after they read or listen to the text. Pictures should be different. Emphasize that the second picture should be of something new they learned on the subject.

Graphic organizers are an excellent tool for read-write-think lesson plans because they help students focus on the subject being taught; enable them to reflect on what they know as well as what they learn; and help them use that knowledge in their daily lives.

References and Resources