Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The purpose of this research study is to examine the impact that graphic organizers have on the writing process and product for primary aged students. The graphic organizer functions as a tool for meaning making within the context of school writing. The research questions that will be explored in this study focus on how graphic organizers capture teacher scaffolding, the relationship between graphic organizers and the final product, and how the use of graphic organizers encourage natural ways of writing. Research will be based in Anne Dyson’s (1981) study of cultural factors in writing and storytelling, and Sarah Michaels ' (2008) attention to strategies that non-mainstream children use in academic writing.

Three focal children representing diverse backgrounds are examined in the classroom setting. They attend a public school Upstate York. They participate in a literacy that includes writer’s workshop, 6 + 1 Traits of writing instruction and opportunities for writing within the science and social studies content areas. These students have access to computer lab once every other week. Data collection took a variety of forms including observations, interviews, and student work samples. The duration of the study was four weeks.

The findings from this study have tentatively suggested that a graphic organizer can make the writing structure more accessible to students when coupled with appropriate teacher scaffolding and opportunities for authentic content area related experiences. Recommendations for teachers include providing a variety of graphic organizers for student to choose from and extensive modeling of their use.

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