Advance Organizers: Everything You Need to Know

This is a concept in teaching in which students are allowed to see or listen to and call out words or phrases that are foreign to them prior to reading a passage or listening to it. This could be in the form of chants and involve the use of visual cues, skimming, etc. Similar to a good movie trailer, an advance organizer offers the students a preview of what they are going to learn and get them interested in knowing more. Such an organizer also works by helping students connect what they already know with what they’re trying to learn.

With the use of an advance organizer, students can connect the new information to old information, which will help them remember the new information more easily. There are three fundamental purposes of advance organizers. First, they direct students’ minds to what’s important in the lesson they’re about the study. Second, they draw attention to the links or relationships among ideas or words that will be presented. Third, they remind students of the pertinent information they already have.

Some advance organizers that parents and teachers can use are:

  •         Expository advance organizers: They offer students an extensive idea of the lesson’s objective before the lesson begins. For instance, a teacher who has already taught the class about habitats may set the next lesson’s goal as learning about a tropical rainforest’s four layers and the animals that live in each of those layers.
  •         Skimming: This involves focusing on a text’s main ideas or highlighted information, like chapter headings or captions. It helps students become familiar with the text’s content before reading it more thoroughly.
  •         Narrative advance organizers: This involves storytelling where the teacher tells an interesting tale at the start of the class, which relates to significant concepts in the lesson. For instance, a teacher may say that he’ll narrate a story about a tree frog that climbed the tallest tree in the rainforest by starting from the forest floor and going all the way up to the top.
  •         KWL charts: They have three columns: one for what the students think they know (this is what K refers to), the second for what they want (W) to know, and the third for what they have learned (L). While the first two columns are filled before a lesson, the third is filled after completing it. KWL charts have been found to boost the focus and interest of students in what they’re about to learn. 
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