A KIM chart helps in learning a new word and enhancing vocabulary. It is especially used in reading comprehension classes. The students can improve their vocabulary when they write about the new words they read in a passage or chapter on a KIM chart. This chart helps in improving reading comprehension among learners. It also assists them in keeping track of all the new words they read. KIM is an acronym. It stands for three different words – Key Words, Information and Memory Cue. A KIM chart template has a separate column for the three categories. There are separate rows for every new word. 

Example Template #1

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A KIM chart template has three columns. The first column ‘K’ stands for ‘Key Idea’. This column is for the words which will be introduced in the vocabulary class. The ‘I’ column stands for ‘Information’. This column is for writing the definition of the word. The third column, which is ‘M’ is for providing memory clues. A memory clue can be anything like an image or a sentence that will help students in memorizing the new word and its meaning. You can teach new words by adding them to this template:

Example Template #2

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What is the KIM or KIMS strategy?

Example Template #3

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Let’s explore a little more what this strategy is and how it works. This strategy uses a graphic organizer which is the KIM chart. It is very helpful in retaining the knowledge of key ideas or concepts in the students’ minds. The strategy also implements a mnemonic device for the explanation of the three columns.

The template given below is a KIM chart template:

Example Template #4

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And the template below is a KIMS strategy template:

Example Template #5

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Using a KIM chart is an excellent strategy for improving students’ vocabulary, right from level 1 to level 12. Whichever age group you use it for, you will be rewarded with the desired learning outcome. We have been discussing the KIM chart, but what is the KIMS strategy? 

Some KIM charts have spaces where students have to think and write a sentence using the keyword. This assists the teacher in checking if the learners have grasped the meaning of the new word correctly. Giving them the task to form a sentence is important too. If they display incorrect use of the word, it means they need more instruction and practice. They are not clear about the main idea.

See the template below:

Example Template #6

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The KIMS strategy is a fun strategy to teach learners who struggle to read, in recognizing, and in learning new words. As you might have understood, ‘K’ stands for Key Word and ‘I’ stands for Information (the column for definition). The M or Memory Clue column is for the picture, and the S of KIMS stands for Sentence. Here, the keyword is used in a sentence. The following is an ideal KIMS chart template:

Example Template #7

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How to teach using the KIMS strategy?

When you have decided to use this strategy in a class, introduce the first new word and write it under the K column. Next, you can help the students in filling up the ‘I’ column, i.e. Information column. You can encourage the learners to define the term using their own words. Then comes the M or Memory Cue column. Draw an image or ask your students to draw a picture that would help them to remember the word. The S or Statement box is the last box they will have to fill. Their task is to write a sentence using the word they have learned. Students can use this template in class:

Example Template #8

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When you are introducing a KIM in a class, we would strongly suggest you fill-up the first few rows. Then ask the students to complete the rest. You can also ask them to work alone or distribute in groups, Younger children will be able to perform better if you ask them to work in groups.

A KIM chart can play a significant part in developing a child’s vocabulary. It is a graphic organizer which helps students to identify and record new words. The chart also helps to explain the meaning of new concepts. You can help students in understanding and memorizing new words by creating their visual representation on a chart. How about using the KIM chart template below in an English language class?

Example Template #9

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Here’s another blank template. You have to write the key term or a part of speech under the ‘K’ column. Provide the information that will help learners remember the word, under the ‘I’ column. The ‘M’ column should have a picture or symbol or anything that would help them to remember the word. 

Example Template #10

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Why should you use a KIM chart?

Vocabulary forms an important part of English classes throughout the world. Vocabulary lessons are significantly helpful to students, especially those who are not native English speakers. While reading fiction or non-fiction, everyone needs to comprehend what they are reading. If readers don’t know the meaning of the words they are reading, they will not understand the concept. This can be a problem with students studying any subject. 

Students love using a KIM chart. The strategy helps in building both their vocabulary and comprehension skills. A KIM chart has shown results that it works even for those students who are significantly weaker in the English language than their peers. See one such KIM chart template below:

Example Template #11

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 If you teach students who belong to low socioeconomic status, they can turn a section of their regular notebooks into a vocabulary section. You can instruct them to make KIM charts in that section. And why only English, you can use a KIM chart while teaching Mathematics, Social studies, and Science. 

Using a KIM chart is a great strategy to enhance the vocabulary of students. This strategy helps teach the definition and use of new words to students. Students will enjoy and feel encouraged to use KIM charts while reading at home too. Learners from any class can use KIM charts. You can print out the following KIM chart template and distribute it amongst students in your class:

Example Template #12

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The advantages of using KIM charts are that they can be used for explaining new words to students. The students can then apply this new information aptly when needed. These charts can be used for learners of any age. The visual clues given under the Memory Cue column are very helpful for learners who struggle with retaining information. The different columns altogether form a powerful medium for drilling a new idea into the students’ minds. Students enjoy using KIM charts too as they get to express their creativity.

Making a KIM chart manually:

KIM can be implemented using a graphic organizer or a vocabulary booklet, both of which require very less preparation. This direct vocabulary instruction strategy can also be tried in notebooks without any prep. KIM is a very effective strategy that is used in ESL classes for developing vocabulary skills. But it can be used while teaching any subject. This zero to low-prep strategy almost always provides highly positive results. The strategy is a success with students of all ages. 

Do you want to make a KIM chart yourself and not download it? You can do that very easily. For making a KIM chart, you have to take a blank sheet of paper. Draw lines to make three columns on it. Write the words ‘Key word’ on top of the first column and ‘Information’ on the top of the second column. Under ‘Information’, you ideally should also write ‘definition of the word’ enclosed in round brackets or by using a dash or comma. Write ‘Memory Cue’ at the top of the third column. Underneath it, you should write ‘picture’ or ‘sentence’ in round brackets. Then start drawing lines from left to write (horizontal) to make rows for different words. See the KIM chart template given below and make a similar chart in your notebook or on a sheet of paper:

Example Template #13

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While teaching or reading, write the first new word under the first column ‘Keyword’. Next, write the definition of the word under the second column ‘Information’. Ultimately, in the third column ‘Memory Cue’, write a sentence using the keyword. Keep on adding all the new words that you come across as you read ahead. 

Conclusion

By now, you must have an idea of how to define or describe a KIM chart. It is a visual organizer tool that helps in developing students’ vocabulary. They use the information in the chart to understand a new word clearly. A KIM chart always has three columns – K for Keyword, I for Information, and M for Memory Clue. See another example below:

Example Template #14

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Children enjoy studying using a KIM chart because they get an opportunity to draw pictures and make creative sentences. It doesn’t seem like real studying to them because kids love to draw. 

Whether you are a learner or a teacher, it is always beneficial to keep a KIM chart in your notebook. You can download the following template for sticking it in a notebook:

Example Template #15

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You will be able to add a new word any time to come across it, or you can look up a word when needed. It will be your little personal dictionary.