Watch This Video to Discover the Philosophy Behind, and How to Use the StoryWhys Graphic Organizers
StoryWhys Book Companions are a unique, literature-based system that provides engaging, research-based language therapy for both individuals and mixed groups who are working on higher-level language and thinking skills at the middle-to-upper elementary grade level.
The universal StoryWhys graphic organizers are the foundation and most critical component of the entire system; they always look the same, including their colors. The StoryWhys graphic organizers are repetitive by design, and the more you use them with your students, the more they will see that there are predictable patterns in the language they hear, speak, read, and write.
Some of the StoryWhys graphic organizers have Clue Words listed at the bottom; these words act as signals to students that they are encountering one of these patterns. These Clue Words also serve to support complex and compound sentence formulation and narratives.
All StoryWhys book companions feature these graphic organizers and provide students with multiple opportunities to use them. The comprehensive book companions include all the StoryWhys graphic organizers, so your students can gain familiarity with, and practice using each of them. The Spotlight Series book companions focus on one type of graphic organizer at a time.
There are two main kinds of StoryWhys graphic organizers – ones for critical thinking and higher level language support, and ones for social comprehension support. The critical thinking and higher level language graphic organizers include: categories, cause & effect, main idea & details, problem & solutions, timeline, and venn. The social comprehension graphic organizers include: feelings thermometers and feel/think/say.
The core principle of the StoryWhys system is that students get to practice using these graphic organizers with the information in specific storybooks as they complete the activities in each book companion. The more book companions you complete with them, the more these skills will start to generalize to all kinds of academic and social contexts.
The StoryWhys system is also highly flexible and you can apply these graphic organizers to all kinds of other skills and contexts. Here are some examples: Reading Comprehension: Transferring written information onto any of the graphic organizers (Categories, Main Idea & Details, Cause & Effect, Timeline, Feel/Think/Say, or Venn) helps students to internalize and recall information they’ve read in both fiction and non-fiction sources. It is also a great way to support working memory as they recall what they’ve read long enough to transcribe it onto the graphic organizer. Curricular Support: When teachers share language and concepts that they are teaching in their science and social studies units, you can use the graphic organizers to reinforce what your students need to learn by encouraging them to categorize vocabulary, illustrate procedures on a timeline, highlight cause and effect relationships, etc. When my students have the opportunity to work with classroom language and concepts outside of their classrooms, it really helps them to remember and generalize the curricular information they've been learning. Writing Support: The Cause & Effect and Venn diagrams are great for generating complex and/or compound sentences, while the Main Idea & Details, Problem & Solutions, and Timeline are great for organizing longer writing tasks like paragraphs, stories, and procedures. Students can brainstorm ideas onto the graphic organizers first, before having to start writing, which can otherwise be a big draw on cognitive bandwidth. Problem Solving: The Problem & Solutions graphic organizer can be helpful in situations where you’d like to encourage your students to try to solve problems with greater independence. Sometimes all it takes is some support in clearly labeling the problem, and then students can generate a Plan A, Plan B, etc. Social Awareness and Perspective-Taking: Use of the Feel/Think/Say graphic organizer, paired with the feelings thermometers, can be incredibly useful during moments of conflict or disagreement with peers. Filling out this diagram can help students to understand the words, thoughts, and feelings of others - as well as their own - which can be a great way to process and solve misunderstandings. This graphic organizer can also be used to develop perspective-taking when watching movies and videos. Comprehension of Nonliteral Language: Whenever your students come across an idiom or saying that they’re not familiar with, explore it on a Sayings graphic organizer. Explore metaphors and similes on Venn diagrams. When you use the StoryWhys graphic organizers, don’t be afraid to modify them – just draw additional boxes, cross elements out, etc. as needed. You can get a blank set of all of them here. And remember – the more you use StoryWhys, the better it works!
Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.
And try a FREE, 71-page book companion on the Special Offers page.