Semantic Mapping: A Tool for All Reasons

Common Core State Standards: 
Foundational Skills
Instructional Strategies: 
Semantic Mapping

As a teacher, literacy specialist, and consultant, I always found semantic maps (also called graphic organizers or webs) to be a hot discussion topic. Teachers found endless uses. Some used graphic organizers for vocabulary—to help students perceive the relationship among words, learn vocabulary, and identify antonyms and synonyms. Others found value in supporting comprehension as students mapped out a story, identified character traits, related ideas, sequenced events, described a process, and connected concepts. Teachers encouraged students to incorporate words, graphics, audio, and even images, to motivate students and differentiate learning. The more ideas I collected over time and the more teachers I talked to, the more it became apparent that the ability to visually organize and represent information was a valuable and flexible tool for any teacher’s strategy toolbox, especially because of its many benefits for struggling students and those with language learning disabilities.

Here are some different types of resources that you might find helpful in deepening your knowledge and skills for using semantic mapping. 

Resource Type Title and Link
Refresh Your Knowledge
Examples of Different Types of Maps
Tech Tools to Create Maps
Lesson Plans

















Also check out PowerUp Your Classroom on PowerUp WHAT WORKS. You’ll find an entire Instructional Strategy Guide devoted to Semantic Mapping. Although the emphasis is on vocabulary development, the strategies can easily be adapted to comprehension.

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