Semantic Mapping / Graphic Organizers

Description of Semantic Mapping

The major purpose of the semantic map is to allow students to organize their prior knowledge into these formal relations and thus to provide themselves a basis for understanding what they are re about to read and study. Comprehension can be thought of as the elaboration and refinement of prior knowledge. What the semantic map provides is a graphic structure of that knowledge to be used as the basis for organizing new ideas as they are understood.


How to use it

  1. Scanning is used to discover required information to complete a given task such as making a decision about what to watch on TV, or which museum to visit while visiting a foreign city. Ask students NOT to read the excerpt before they begin the exercise, but rather, to focus on completing the task based on what the question requires. It is probably a good idea to do some awareness raising of the various types of reading skills that they use naturally in their own mother tongue (i.e. extensive, intensive, skimming, scanning) before beginning the exercise.
  2. Graphic Organizers, Mind Maps and Concept Maps are pictoral or graphical ways to organize information and thoughts for understanding, remembering, or writing about. Graphic organizers, mind maps and concept maps are powerful tools that can be used to enhance learning and create a foundation for learning.

When to use it

  1. When readers are overwhelmed by a long string of ideas or events.
  2. When there is sequence of events that can be organized in a time line.
  3. When there is a necessity of summarizing and organizing the contents of a text.

Activities to Practice Semantic Mapping / Graphic Organizers

  1. Hamlet model (.pdf)
  2. Outlining (.pdf)
  3. Sequencing (.pdf)
  4. Story Pyramid (.pdf)

Links to Scholarly Resources

Prereading Strategies Strategies
The content of this web page was developed as an aid to either student or entry level teachers who have immediate need in their classroom for information related to reading or for anyone wishing to further understand this general topic area.

Strategies for Reading to Learn

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