Instruction for the K-W-L


  1. Identify the topic of the reading. Use it as a "trigger" for the student's prior knowledge. Collectively fill the "K" column before giving the assignment.
  2. Take each heading in the reading and convert it to a question using the words "who" "what" "when" "where" "why" and "how." Be sure to guide the students into asking questions that you know the author actually answers in the reading. Also, it is OK to construct more than one question for each heading. These questions go in the "W" column.
  3. Assign the reading and instruct students that after they read the entire piece, go back and answer all the questions in the "W" column without referring back to the text. They are to answer the questions in their own words rather trying to answer the questions as the author might. The answers are placed in the "L" column.
  4. The K-W-L strategy does not work well for readings that do not contain headings. In this case, you should use the mapping as a pre-reading technique.