K-W-L-H Technique

The K-W-L-H teaching technique is a good method to help students activate prior knowledge. It is a group instruction activity developed by Donna Ogle (1986) that serves as a model for active thinking during reading.

Students complete the "categories" section at the bottom of the graphic organizer by

asking themselves what each statement in the "L" section (What We Learned) describes.

They use these categories and the information in the "H" section (How Can We Learn

More) to learn more about the topic. Students also can use the categories to create

additional graphic organizers. They can use the organizers to review and write about

what they've learned.

Sample K-W-L-H


What We Know What We Want to Find Out What We Learned How Can We Learn More

Dinosaurs are large.

Dinosaurs are dead.

They lived a long time ago.

There is a movie about dinosaurs

How long ago did they live?

Why did they die?

How do we know what they looked like?

Who are the people who study dinosaurs?

An archeologist has an exciting life.

Dinosaurs eat plants and some eat meat.

Some dinosaurs were gigantic, but had small brains.

Fossils uncover dinosaur traits.




Field Trips

Archeological digs


Internet computer search

Categories of Information we expect to use:

  1. Size
  2. Career
  3. Eating Habits



Debbie Blaskowski, a fourth-grade teacher at the Weyerhaeuser School in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin, developed a lesson using KWHL (a slight modification of KWLH) and other graphic organizers to activate students' prior knowledge.


Adapted from Strategic Teaching and Reading Project Guidebook. (NCREL, 1995, rev. ed.).

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