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KWL activity

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin
KWL activity (PDF, 28 KB)

The purpose of the activity

To activate prior knowledge of a given topic, to identify what the learners want to know about the topic and to identify what the learners find out in a text.

To identify the learners’ own prior understanding and to monitor their learning as they read.

The teaching points

  • Recalling prior knowledge of the topic (K).
  • Generating motivation to learn more (W).
  • Identifying relevant information and monitoring understandings (L).


  • Whiteboard and markers.
  • A KWL chart per learner.

Image of a KWL chart.

The guided teaching and learning sequence

1. Draw a KWL chart on the whiteboard.

2. Carry out a brainstorm on a topic, writing the learners’ ideas in the first (K) column.

3. Discuss what information the learners feel they need to know about the topic. Write their ideas in the second (W) column of the chart.

4. Explain that, as they read the text, the learners will make notes about what they have learnt in the third (L) column.

5. Give the learners individual copies of KWL charts for them to record their own ideas in the first two columns.

6. The learners read the text and make notes in the third column (L) as they read.

7. The learners share their notes with a partner or the whole group.

Follow-up activity

This activity can be used to develop deeper thinking about a topic by adding “H” for “How?” to the chart after the second or third column, depending on the purpose. The learners can either discuss how they will learn something, or how they will use or apply what they have learnt.



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