Many students with learning disabilities (LD) experience difficulties with extracting relationships from expository text, especially if they are implicit. Results from studies with K-12 participants have been inconclusive regarding the potency of the graphic organizer (GO) as a comprehension tool. This study attempted to address some of the concerns with GO research by examining the effects of using GOs with middle school students with LD to convey and cue relational knowledge, using a longer intervention and using written essays to assess the students' attainment of relational knowledge. The results lend support for using GOs with students with LD to gain relational knowledge from expository textbooks. When factual knowledge was assessed via multiple choice tests and quizzes, no differences were found between treatment and control conditions. As in other GO studies, both groups demonstrated attainment of facts and concepts. But when relational knowledge was assessed, the two groups responded differentially. On essays that required application, the GO group provided significantly more relational knowledge statements than students in the No GO group did.
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