Assess Reading Comprehension With Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers enable students to construct meaning in their reading.

Assessing students’ comprehension allows teachers to see whether or not a student is getting it when reading books. There are many strategies for assessing students reading comprehension, from multiple choice questions, to fill-in-the-blank, to extended response and finally the process of asking for clarification during reading. However,each of these methods has its own flaws, leaving the teacher to question whether or not a student truly understands. Using graphic organizers to assess reading comprehension gives teachers a better understanding of a student’s thinking because it provides a way for students to organize their thinking, and it gives a visual to go along with their response.


1. Choose a reading comprehension skill to assess. There are so many reading comprehension skills, such as compare and contrast, sequencing, identifying the main idea and summarizing, that it’s best to choose one at a time on which to focus .

2. Select an appropriate graphic organizer to go along with the comprehension skill. For example, if you were to assess students on their ability to compare and contrast you would want to choose a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram. Venn Diagrams show relationships between two objects, including how they are different and how they are the same.

3. Demonstrate complete the graphic organizer. By modeling complete the graphic organizer you reduce the chances of a student not responding because of unfamiliarity with the tool. Consequently, you get a better picture of the students who truly can recognize attributes necessary to complete the graphic organizer.

4. Evaluate students’ responses in using their graphic organizer. Do their responses fit the task? Using the Venn Diagram as an example, did students clearly identify characteristics that made two or more objects the same and different?

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