Using Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are visual displays of information that help learners to process and organize input from an interaction or an authentic text. Graphic organizers can be customized based on the purpose for reading, listening, or speaking (interpersonally). The purpose of this activity is to teach students strategies to make meaning of authentic texts or an interpersonal interaction using a graphic organizer to collect key information. In this activity, students, in pairs or triads, demonstrate understanding of what they read or hear as they interact with peers and/or authentic texts by completing graphic organizers.


  1. The teacher selects one or more sources of authentic texts (websites, articles, books, videos, etc.).

  2. The teacher provides students with a graphic organizer customized to facilitate their processing of the text(s). (customized based on the purpose for reading and the specific details needed to meet the purpose for reading)

  3. The teacher explains and models using each section of the graphic organizer.

  4. Optional: Students choose the text(s) they want to read from a group identified and collected by the teacher.

  5. Working in pairs or triads, students read the text and complete the graphic organizer.

  6. The teacher monitors the reading and provides feedback and additional support as necessary.

  7. (Optional debrief) The teacher asks triads to share what their completed graphic organizer. This could be done in small groups, and/or as a whole class. This step ensures that all students confirm their understanding and add any important information they

Helpful Tips

  1. In order to avoid students simply copying and pasting if using technology, the teacher might consider using a digital graphic organizer with printed authentic texts or vice versa.


  1. At the novice level, students can asked to use information found in the text to identify key words, concrete facts, opinions, and/or agree on the main idea(s) of a text.

  2. At the intermediate level, students can asked to identify key details and supporting details, support opinions with evidence from the text, summarize the text in original sentences, infer facts and opinions not directly stated in the text, make personal connections to the text, and write questions based on the key and supporting details of the text.

  3. At the novice level, it is fine to allow students to choose to take notes on a graphic organizer either in the target language, in English, or in a combination of the two.


  1. Graphic organizer (print or digital)

  2. Authentic text(s)