top of page

Instructional Strategies that Work: KWHL

Updated: Feb 8

Center for Learning Effectiveness

Name of the Strategy: KWHL

Objective or Purpose of the Strategy:

  • To build upon prior knowledge as a prerequisite to new learning.

  • To emphasize that good reading requires some forethought and planning in order to gain all that is possible from the activity.

  • To predict methods of discovering the information students want to know.

Step - by - Step Reading Strategy:

Put the letters KWHL on the chalkboard with a column drawn beneath each letter.

  • Under the K, write - What you know.

  • Under the W, write - What you want to know.

  • Under the H, write - How will we find out?

  • Under the L, write - What have you learned?

  1. Before the student begin a lesson or unit, ask them what they already know about the concept or topic. Record this information under the K in column one.

  2. Next, ask the student what they want to know about the respective concept or topic. List these thoughts under the W column.

  3. Third, ask for suggestions as to how student can find the information they want to know. List these suggestions under the H column.

  4. Spend time discussing why the students gave the responses they did.

  5. Discuss plans of gaining the knowledge they want to know.

  6. Finally, after the assigned topic has been taught, complete the final column L answer the question, What have you learned?


Student's responses in the four columns provide the teacher with needed information about the strengths and weaknesses of the students, and provide future planning strategies. In addition, the teacher can determine researching skills and develop these further.

Alternative activities:

  • Have students complete the chart in a small group or as partners.

  • Have students complete their own charts as exit tickets, progress monitors or note catchers.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page