Areas of Expertise


Adolescent Literacy

Reading Strategies

Strategy: KWLS

Moore, D. W., Alvermann, D. E., & Hinchman, K. A. (2000). Struggling Adolescent Readers. International Reading Association.


KWLS is an strategy that builds on the original KWL (Ogle). The "S" stands for "What I STILL Need To Know" and emphasizes the need for further for investigation to improve metacognition about a subject area. KWLS encourages readers to utilize many different materials. It is suggested that a chart be used to combine focus questions into the KWL format. An excellent example of such a chart can be found in the above cited text, page 221.


  1. Generate questions that are applicable to the information being studied that encourage students to focus on the important aspects of the subject area. These questions, focusing on the 5 "W's:" who, what, where, when and why, can usually be found at the beginning or ending of a reading selection. It is also suggested that each sub-topic heading can be turned into an appropriate focus question.
  2. Ask the students to note in the "K" box what they know. This can be done individually, in small groups, or as a whole class activity. The responses are then noted on the chart. This will clearly identify the areas of knowledge that are known and those that are unknown.
  3. Next, in the "W" box, students write down what further information they want to know about the topic.
  4. Materials are provided in the form of textbook assignments or journal articles to enhance the knowledge base of the class, both as the reliability of the items in the "K" column as well as the notations in the "W" column. This reading can be done in class or as homework assignments.
  5. Post-reading discussions are structured around this information. Students are encouraged to make appropriate changes on the chart. During this time, the "S" component of the strategy is addressed. What is it that still needs to be explored? These are duly noted on the chart, and students are encouraged to further research these areas.

Examples: Moore et al. give a very useful example in the text cited above.


Copyright © 2011 Learning Point Associates. All rights reserved.