As a student teacher I was disappointed at initial confusion by my World Literature students when we began reading Homer’s Iliad. I wanted to probe my students about the fascinating questions the story raises about the Greek culture, the qualities of a hero, and fate and free will. However, it was impossible to discuss themes when my students constantly needed to be reminded who the characters were or what was happening in the story. In this study, I assigned KWL (Know, Want to know, Learned) charts to students to complete while reading Book 22 of the Iliad. Students who completed KWL charts demonstrated better recall of character names and plot points in the story as evident in their scores on a summative assessment of the story. Students who completed KWL charts also asked more complex questions and engaged in higher-level discussion about the story than did students who did not complete KWL charts. The study suggests that using reading strategies such as KWL charts are effective in overcoming comprehension obstacles for average to low- ability students when reading complex literature.
Kristen Menke is a senior English and Secondary Education student from La Porte, Indiana. She graduated from La Porte High School in 2009 and Valparaiso University with a BA in 2013. At Valparaiso University, Kristen was a reporter for the Torch news and the secretary of Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society.
Menke, Kristen, "KWL and Homer's Illiad." (2013). Education Senior Action Research Projects. Paper 28.