Semantic webbing or mapping is a strategy that activates and builds on a student's prior knowledge (Heimlich & Pittelman, 1986); it is a strategy that is effective with students of all ages, with individuals or with groups, and with both narrative and expository texts.
1. Vocabulary development
a. Write the targeted vocabulary word in a box in the middle of the board or chart paper.
b. Encourage students to think of as many words as they can that relate to the target word.
c. Teacher writes the words on the board.
d. Next, categorize the words. Label each list with the appropriate category title; or:
students categorize and label the categories;
teacher supplies the category labels and the students list each word under the appropriate category;
teacher lists the words in the appropriate groupings and the students supply the category name.
e. The teacher explains how the word relates to the story or selection, or the students are asked to predict how they think the word will connect to the story or selection.
2. Prereading: to assess students' prior knowledge on the topic of the text
a. Write the topic of the text in a circle in the middle of the board or chart paper.
Proceed with steps
b – e as described in vocabulary development.
3. Postreading Activity: After reading the selection, the semantic map should be reviewed and discussed to emphasize the main ideas presented in the text and to add new information that the students gained in their reading. The students should write the new information in the appropriate categories or add new ones, if necessary.
4. Study skill technique
The semantic mapping strategy can be used as:
a. a study skill to guide the processing of textbook material.
b. an advance organizer.
c. a model for note taking and outlining.