KWL table

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A KWL table, or KWL chart, is a graphical organizer designed to help in learning. The letters KWL are an acronym for "what we know", "what we want to know", and "what we learned". A KWL table is typically divided into three columns titled Know, Want and Learned. The table comes in various forms as some have modified it to include or exclude information.

It may be useful in research projects and to organize information to help study for tests.


Classroom Introduction

The KWL chart was created by Donna Ogle in 1986.[1] A KWL chart can be used for all subjects in a whole group or small group atmosphere. The chart is a comprehension strategy used to activate background knowledge prior to reading and is completely student centered. The teacher divides a piece of chart paper into three columns. The first column, 'K', is for what the students already know about a topic. This step is to be completed before the reading. The next column, 'W', is for students to list what they want to learn about the topic during the reading. This step is also to be completed before the reading. The third column, 'L', is for what the students learned from the reading. This step, of course, is done after finishing the reading. The KWL chart can also be used in reading instruction at the beginning of a new unit.

Here is what the KWL chart can look like:


What I know


What I want to know


What I learned

Write the information about what the students know in this space.Write the information about what the students want to know in this space.After the completion of the lesson or unit, write the information that the students learned in this space.

A KWL chart can be used to drive instruction in the classroom. The teacher can create lesson plans based upon the interests and inquiries of the students and their needs. Using this strategy can increase motivation and attention by activating the students' prior knowledge. This allows the teacher to understand the students' prior knowledge and the students' interests in the topic.

Purpose for using KWL charts

A teacher has many reasons for using KWL charts in the classroom. First, a KWL chart activates students' prior knowledge of the text or topic to be studied. By asking students what they already know, students are thinking about prior experiences or knowledge about the topic. Next, KWL charts set a purpose for the unit. Students are able to add their input to the topic by asking them what they want to know. Students then have a purpose for participating and engaging in the topic. Also, using a KWL chart allows students to expand their ideas beyond the text used in the classroom. By being aware of students' interests, the teacher has the ability to create projects and assignments that the students will enjoy. A KWL chart is a great tool that can be used to drive instruction.

See also


  1. ^ Ogle, D.M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. Reading Teacher, 39, 564-570