You do not have JavaScript Enabled on this browser. Please enable it in order to use the full functionality of our website.

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Graphic Organizers and Their Effects on the Reading Comprehension of Students with LD: A Synthesis of Research

Kim, A. H., Vaughn, S., et al. (2004).
Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(2), 105-118.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a meta-analysis of group design intervention studies investigating the effect of graphic organizers on reading comprehension for students with learning disabilities (LD).

Question(s) Addressed:

What are the effects of graphic organizers on reading comprehension for students with LD?

Population: Students in grades K-12 with an identified LD.


  • semantic organizer
  • cognitive maps with a mnemonic
  • cognitive maps without a mnemonic
  • framed outlines

Number of Studies Included: 21

Years Included: 1996 - June 2001



  • Treatment
    • Language
      • Reading
        • Compensatory Treatments - Graphic Organizers
          • The examination of "graphic organizers on the reading comprehension of students with LD revealed overall beneficial outcomes across the studies. In general, [the] findings support the use of semantic organizers, cognitive maps with and without mnemonics, and framed outlines to promote these students’ reading comprehension" (p. 114).
          • However, "[t]he use of graphic organizers is not sufficient for ensuring that students will obtain acceptable levels of understanding" (p. 115).
          • No evidence was found "to show that students could transfer the use of graphic organizers to understand other passages…longer intervention durations may be necessary for students to use graphic organizers more easily and independently in novel situations" (p. 115).

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, Literacy, Written Language Disorders

Access the Review

Added to Compendium: January 2012

ASHA Corporate Partners