Many teachers are familiar with the concept of using graphic organizers for reading. In truth, graphic organizers are often helpful during the writing process as well. Encouraging students to use graphic organizers during the brainstorming or organizing process can help them to come up with more unique ideas and structure those ideas well.
1. Ask yourself questions about the type of writing you plan on doing. Is it a cause-effect report? A narrative story? A compare-contrast paper?
2. Based on your answers, choose the format of the graphic organizer you would like to use. For a cause-effect report, you would choose a cause-effect graphic organizer. For a narrative story, you would choose a sequence organizer. For a compare-contrast paper, you would use a Venn diagram or a two-column chart. If you’re unsure about the format of your paper, choose an idea web instead. (See Resources.)
3. Fill out as much of the chart as you can without doing any research. This will enable you to find out what you already know about your topic.
4. Highlight the areas that you need to fill in with your research. You may wish to use a different color pen to write notes to yourself about additional research you will need in order to complete the entire graphic organizer.
5. Fill in the appropriate areas of the graphic organizer as you research.
6. Review your graphic organizer after you finish researching to make sure that you have not left out any essential information. When your graphic organizer is complete, you will be ready to write your paper.