K-W-L (What I Know, What I Want to Learn, What I Learned) is a teaching model designed to help students learn from nonfiction text in any content area. K-W-L (Source: Ogle, Donna. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher, 39, 564-570.)


Paper and pencil; poster board and art supplies (optional).

The following strategy sheet is useful in providing a framework for students to write their personal responses, thus making each of the steps more concrete and helping to maintain a record of their personal responses for later reference.

K-W-L Strategy Sheet

K-What I Know W-What I Want to Learn L-What I Learned

Categories of information
I expect to use:


The K-W-L strategy consists of a multi-step procedure: brainstorming and categorizing, purpose-setting through questioning, and examining answers to those questions.

The first step is for the students to tell or write what they already know about the topic in the first column, the K column. Once all known information has been recorded in this column, the second step is to examine this information for categories to indicate the types of information that will be found during the learning phase.

The third step is to generate a list of questions that reflect what the student wants to know about the topic. This list then becomes a guide for the upcoming reading. At this point text material is read with the purpose of seeking answers to the questions listed.

The last step is to list the information learned about the topic. The student may have discovered answers to all questions asked, or may find that some still need to be answered.

This procedure is intended to help teachers become more responsive to helping students access appropriate knowledge when reading expository text. K-W-L is also intended to support student learning before, during, and after reading. Ogle has noted that as students use this procedure over time they become more actively involved in their reading of expository text.

K-W-L Poster
Sample K-W-L About Lions

Return to previous page
Return to Instructional Strategies Page
Return to My Top Level Page