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Reading in a Foreign Language, v19 n1 p34-55 Apr 2007

As an instructional tool, graphic organizers (GOs) have been highly recommended and used in contemporary classrooms. Over the past decade, a number of concerns have been raised about claims for the effectiveness of GOs. These concerns involve the inconsistent research results on student improvements, the limitation in generalizability from research studies, and the need for research studies with second language (L2) students and with more extended instructional exposure time. This paper argues that GOs, which directly represent the discourse structures of a text, provide stronger evidence for the effectiveness of the technique, and these versions of GOs should be adopted in comprehension instruction. The authors propose a number of generic forms of graphic representations that apply to regularly recurring text structures, and recommend further research on the impact of GOs with learners of English as a second or foreign language as well as research that involves more extended instructional time. The following are appended: (1) Studies in the Effect of Graphic Organizers That do not Reflect Text Structures; and (2) Studies in the Effect of Graphic Organizers That Reflect Text Structures. (Contains 1 figure.)

Descriptors: Instructional Effectiveness, Reading Instruction, Teaching Methods, Instructional Materials, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Text Structure

Reading in a Foreign Language. National Foreign Language Resource Center, 1859 East-West Road #106, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822. e-mail: readfl[at]; Web site:

Autor: Jiang, Xiangying; Grabe, William


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