Use Graphic Organizers For Literature

Graphic organizers like Venn diagrams can help compare different elements of literature.

Graphic organizers present many ways to brainstorm, learn, interpret, write, teach and organize ideas or concepts in literature. They are usually used as visual representations for elements of literature. Concept maps, flow charts, matrix maps, character maps and brainstorming webs are all examples of graphic organizers. However, graphic organizers are not just limited to these types; there are many different kinds of organizers that help make them very useful tools in literature. They can help you to flesh out ideas and learn about all of the different aspects of literature.


1. Choose the type of graphic organizer you’ll use help you understand, learn or write about your literature topic. Determine the graphic organizer’s purpose and that it can be used to describe, compare or contrast, classify, sequence and make decisions.

2. Draw your map or chart on a piece of paper. Write the main idea or topic in the main box or bubble on your graphic organizer. Use the main topic as the platform to organize, compare, generate or brainstorm ideas. Ideas you come up with will always stem from your main topic.

3. Generate subtopics or ideas that serve the main purpose of your graphic organizer, and draw them on the rest of your graphic organizer. If you’re using the organizer to compare two characters in a story, use a comparison matrix, Venn diagram or concept map. For example, the Venn diagram is composed of circles that interlace with each other, and the common characteristics being written in the shared space where the circles interlace.

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4. Describe an element of literature, a setting, character, plot, or theme by using a brainstorming web or a concept map. Include ideas that stem from different subtopics to describe the main topic. These types of graphic organizers will help you deconstruct and define relationships between elements and show what direction they have taken.

5. Utilize a brainstorming web or a flow chart to classify an idea or element of literature. For example, a flow chart can be used to interpret and identify the different themes in a novel by classifying them. It can also show a sequence or a pattern like a chain of events or show how certain phases or stages have taken place. This is an excellent tool in mapping a plot. A matrix or web can be used to show casual ideas or make decisions.

6. Organize your map or chart if each is too complex, on a separate sheet of paper to structure its body. Re-draw the graphic organizer and label each part with categories that help determine where each idea belongs. For example, a concept map can be labeled to how a paper is organized by being labeled with an introduction, body and conclusion.

7. Use colored pencils or markers to color-code the different categories of your map or chart. Once color-coded, tt will be much easier to organize and define the different parts of the graphic organizer. When you’re finished the ideas should relate to support the graphic organizer’s purpose and main topic, helping you to understand literature in a more orderly manner.