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KWL – A Reading Comprehension Strategy Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP RDG0016
Submitted by: Susan Michael
Endorsed by: Dr. Don E. Descy, Mankato State University Date: May 18, 1998

Grade Level(s): Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Language Arts/Reading

Description: When you are reading, sometimes it is difficult to understand what you are reading.  This can be extremely frustrating for students. To help them understand what they are reading, students will be taught a reading comprehension strategy called KWL. K stands for what you know, W stands for what you want to know, and L stands for what you want to learn. Goal: Students will understand how to utilize the KWL comprehension strategy.


1) Students will be able to explain the three steps to the KWL reading strategy.
2) Students will utilize the KWL comprehension strategy when they read to help them understand what they have read.

Background Information:

KWL comprehension strategy can be used at all grade levels.  It works well with all types of text, but I have found that it is especially useful for understanding expository text.

Concepts: Students will be able to use KWL to understand what they have read.


* Expository text
* Reading journals


1) Teacher explains to students that when people read, they do not always understand what they have read.
2) We will learn a comprehension strategy, a way to help us understand, called KWL.

  1. KWL means:  K=what we know, W=what we want to know, and L=what you have learned.
  2. Here are the steps:
  • List what you know about the topic.
  • List what you want to know about the topic.
  • Read the article or chapter.
  • List what you have learned.
  • 3) Teacher will model with a piece of expository text.

    1. Teacher lists on the board what he/she knows about the text or chapter.
    2. Teacher lists in another column what he/she wants to find out about the text or chapter.
    3. Teacher reads out loud 2 pages of the text to the class.
    4. Teacher lists in a 3rd column what he/she has learned from the 2 pages.

    4) Guided practice:

    1. Teacher reads another short piece of expository text.
    2. Teacher lists student responses to the piece of text that was read using the KWL comprehension strategy.  Teacher records students responses on the board.


    Students will buddy-read an expository book of choice. They will record the KWL responses in their reading journals.  Teacher will check the journals for understanding of what they have read and to see if they have utilized the KWL comprehension strategy correctly.