Know-Want to Know-Learned (K-W-L)


The KWL chart was created by Ogle (1986) as an instructional reading strategy used to elicit students’ prior knowledge, communicate the purpose for the reading, and assist students in monitoring their comprehension of the text. Formatted as a graphic organizer, not only can this method be used to enhance reading comprehension, but it can be used to identify misconceptions, learn more about students’ prior knowledge and interest, and it can be used as a tool to synthesize concepts.

Practical Applications

To implement the KWL method, divide a piece of paper into three columns. Label the columns “K – What I Know”, “ W – What I Want to Know,” and “L – What I Learned.” (See example below.) Before students begin the reading, ask them to fill out the first two columns, “K” and “W.” Upon completion of the reading, instruct students to fill out the “L” column. This can be used with lectures, discussions, research projects, and a host of other learning activities as well.


What I Know


What I
Want to Know


What I Learned

Recommended Resources


  • KLEW: “K” stands for what the students know about a topic, “L” stands for what is being learned, “E” stands for the evidence that supports the learning previously identified, and “W” stands for wondering, which encourages additional questions (Hill, 1998).
  • KLHW: Margaret Mooney added an “H,” which stands for how, in between L and W. The addition of the “H” helps students to identify strategies for discovering more information.
  • Visit KWL Charts at for more adaptations, including a variation for solving math problems, and to find downloadable Word templates.

Related Evaluation and Assessment Resources


  • Hill, B. C., Ruptic, C. & Norwick, L. (1998). Classroom Based Assessment. Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc., Norwood MA
  • Ogle, D.M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher, 39, 564-570