An investigation of the use of graphic organizers coupled with a checklist to improve student response writing

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Price, Elaine
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Graphic organizers are believed to be beneficial for organizational purposes, and through this study, using a formative experimental approach, a herringbone style was used to investigate impact on student book and poetry response writing. Groups of Struggling Writers need something to simplify the task of good response writing; thus, this study was carried out to compare the impact of the use of a graphic organizer and teacher-prepared criteria/information handouts, to the sole use of information handouts on student response writing. The study also compared the impact of a checklist and a correct-usage resource handout to the sole use of a resource handout for editing purposes. To address the continued problem of poor student editing/proofreading, a one-step-at-a-time proofreading approach was linked with the checklist. The participants involved ten grade seven students, indicated as Struggling Writers through testing by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, who participated in this study for a period of thirty-one school days. Within this study, a quantitative analysis, demonstrates that all ten improved in their responses with the use of a graphic organizer and a checklist for their book and poetry response writing. Participants showed significant increases of number of entries between their book responses, and between their poetry responses for two different poems. For checklist usage, the total mean increase for difference correct of proper usage of capital letters, commas, quotation marks, and end punctuation for the book and poetry responses was significant. This formative experimental model approach also investigated the reshaping of the interventions used, the impact of inhibitor factors on participant responses, and environmental changes - resulting future use of the interventions. Given the success of the use of the graphic organizer and checklist within this study, recommendations for future research are provided. These results will be of interest to educators for instructional purposes.
Study and teaching (Middle school) , Reader-response criticism , Graphic organizers , English language composition