Graphic organizers as reading tools

We often think of graphic organizers as things to be used in writing, but they also make fabulous reading tools. They can be used to visually map the argument of a critical analysis or to (re-)organize plot events in narrative works. They can also be used to categorize characters, vocabulary, events, etc. to help student construct a different understanding of a text they’re reading. Nearly any reading strategy you can think of can make us of a graphic organizer!

While you can ask students to create these on paper, there are also a host of FREE online tools that can be used to create organizers of varying complexity. Popplet ( allows you to easily create mind-map-like cloud charts, while Lucidchart ( allows for simple creation of complex flowcharts. Google Slides ( is also a great tool for graphic organizers – create a different slide for different categories and list events, characters, etc. on the appropriate slide, or use shapes to create simple flow charts. You can also create non-linear organizers by adding links to other slides for navigation.

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