Using Graphic Organizers to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills for the Middle School ESL Students

  •  Praveen Sam D    
  •  Premalatha Rajan    


“A picture is worth a thousand words.” In a modern-day classroom, students are surrounded by visual imagery through textbooks, notice boards, television, videos, or computers. Many middle school classrooms are filled with colorful pictures and photographs. However, it is unclear how – or if - these images impact the middle school ESL students who are developing reading comprehension. The focus of this article is on ESL middle school language learners’ use of these graphics as information organizers while comprehending a passage for main ideas, supporting details, facts, opinions, comparisons and contradictions. This article also examines and proposes different forms of graphic organizers for achieving better understanding of texts. Differences in performance between the students who are exposed to the use of graphic organizers and the students who are not similarly exposed have been analyzed in this article. The experimental and control groups of this research are middle school students in ESL classes. The analytical method, ANOVA, is used to project the performance difference between the controlled and experimental groups. The result of the post-test suggested that the experimental group students have improved in all the five types of reading questions compared to controlled group students. Therefore, using graphic organizers is effective in reading questions like (1) identifying the main idea, (2) finding the supporting details, (3) dealing with vocabulary and (4) fact and opinion & (5) making inferences. Furthermore, the pedagogical implication here is the use graphic organizers during reading comprehension sessions indirectly motivates the students to create their own graphic organizer for the passages they read and comprehend. This improves their creativity.

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