top of page

Writing Process

Writing process improvement and reading comprehension (using text structures) are explicitly linked together through the use of Thinking Maps® and other visual tools.  A range of writing prompts given to students on a regular basis are structured by fundamental patterns of thinking such as comparison, theme/details, and narrative (etc.).  Thinking Maps in particular give students the tools for generating, organizing, and sequencing their ideas for high quality writing products.  The research results below show clear evidence of improved student writing over time.  

Predicting Writing Success Using Multilevel Modeling

By Jennifer Lindstrom, Ph.D., Lindsay Peaster, Ph.D., Monica Semrad, M.S., Betsy Short, Ed.D., United States. 2014

Click on the PDF icon to download

This study examined the validity of student-level variables (e.g., pre-test performance, classification status) and classroom-level variables (e.g., teacher type, level of training in Thinking Maps® and Write…From the Beginning®) in predicting initial and end-of-year writing performance....  Results of the descriptive analyses revealed that, across both grades and all disability categories, significant improvements were observed in students’ performance in the Ideas and Organization domains in particular, as well as in the Style and Conventions domains, though not quite as significant. While first graders improved significantly in both the Ideas and Organization domains of the mock Writing Assessment, regardless of classification status, the most significant improvements by far were observed among students classified as SLD/SI or SDD/SI, with 90 to 100 percent of the students in this group scoring in the “In Progress” or “Meets” category in both domains at posttest compared to <1 percent at pretest. 

View this interview with Meagan, a middle school student at Learning Prep School outside Boston MA, USA. David Hyerle coaches Meagan about how she can use  the Thinking Maps she created to organize her thinking and to go "off the map" to create a piece of writing. 

(Review the significant academic results from Learning Prep School in the Special Needs section.)

Student Successes With Thinking Maps®
David Hyerle and Larry Alper coeditors Corwin Press, Second Edition, January 2011, Thousand Oaks, California

Click on the PDF icon to download

Chapter 7: Empowering Students: From Thinking to Writing
Jane Buckner, Ed.S.

It is time for a writing revolution in America. In September 2002, the College Board—composed of more than 4,300 schools and colleges—established the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges. The decision to create teh Commission was motivated in part because of a decision by the Board to make a writing assessment part of the new SAT beginning in 2005. However, a greater impetus for the study was due to a growing concern within the education and business communities regarding the quality of student writing.

Key sections from the chapter Empowering Students From Thinking to Writing with excerpts above include:

  • Developing Composition

  • Writing as Thinking

  • Structures for Organization

  • Precision of Thought and Language

  • Quality Assessment Tools

  • Sharing the Language of Writing


Jane Buckner, Ed.S. is a national educational consultant and author of works focused on developing writing proficiency in students from kindergarten through high school.

Thinking Maps in Writing Project in English for Taiwanese Elementary School Students

By Yu Shu Fan,Institute of Taiwan Languages and Language Teaching, National Hsinchu University of Education, Taiwan, 2016


The purpose of this teaching project tried to use Thinking Maps to build up the skills of English writing. Moreover, the researcher designed games in teaching. No matter the beginners or skill students enjoy English writing instead of fear. This writing project finds out that Thinking Maps help most of the students in developing good structure, providing more and more ideas for them to use in their own essay writing no matter if they have experience in writing or not. As a result, the students are confident in English writing, therefore, Thinking Maps is a new teaching method to be considered for all the teachers in Taiwan.

Click on the PDF icon to download

The Use of Thinking Maps to Improve the Writing Skill of Grade VIII Students at SMPN 2 Srandakan in the Academic Year of 2014/2015

By Apsari Murbiyani, Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia. 2015

Click on the PDF icon to download

The research showed that the use of Thinking Maps was able to improve the students’ writing skills. Based on the qualitative data, the students were able to write a draft of writing as required and were also able to write in more detail and well-organized writing. They were also able to use the appropriate vocabulary, the correct grammar and also spelling, punctuation and capitalization in their writing. Besides, the students’ attitude towards teaching and learning process was also improved since Thinking Maps also enhance the students’ motivation in writing. Based on the quantitative data, the students’ mean score improved. In the pre-test, the students’ mean score was 11.37. In the post-test, the score increased into 15.71. The gain score of the mean scores from pre-test to post-test was 4.34.

Listen to these witty high school students from England discuss the impact of using Thinking Maps for writing, reading, and note taking in all of their classes.

Leveling the Playing Field: The Efficacy of Thinking Maps on English Language Learner Students’ Writing

By Jamal Cooks, San Francisco State University, The Catesol Journal 25.1. United States. 2013/2014

Click on the PDF icon to download

Many students, especially English language learners (ELLs), struggle with writing expository texts. This study examined the impact of several writing strategies on ELLs’ writing skills, including prewriting strategies and scaffolding strategies in- herent in the Thinking Maps (TM) program. The purpose of the study was to see if ELLs were able to use these strategies to express their ideas more effectively in compositions in a more organized way. The participants were 8 students in grades 3 through 5 in the South Bay School District. The students were participating in an after-school writing class 2 days a week for 6 months. As a result, the overall average of students’ writing scores in the areas of “Ideas” and “Organization” increased.

The Effect of Thinking Maps on Students’ Higher Order Thinking Skills
By Laura A. Weis,California State University. Northridge, 2011

Click on the PDF icon to download

In Advanced Placement Environmental Science, students are required to demonstrate higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Thinking Maps are a specific series of graphic organizer’s produced by and educational consultant company and created by David Hyerle. Thinking Maps claim to increase students’ higher order thinking skills, but no peer-reviewed research has been completed on the success or usefulness of these graphic organizers. In order to determine the effect of Thinking Maps on students higher order thinking skills, student ability to compare and contrast and students essay scores were compared in essays given before and after Thinking Maps instruction. Students’ surveys were analyzed before and after Thinking Maps instruction on students’ use of Thinking Maps. Field notes were collected. After Thinking Maps instruction, students’ ability to compare and contrast increased by 69%; students’ essay scores increased by 16%. Both of these changes are statistically relevant. Student’s study habits and practices were surveyed before and after Thinking Maps instruction. Insignificant change in students reported study habits occurred before and after Thinking Maps instruction. Field notes were used to support these findings.

Using Thinking Maps to Facilitate Research Writing in Upper Level Undergraduate Classes
By Margie Lee Gallagher, East Carolina University, Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences Education, 29(2), Fall/Winter 2011

Click on the PDF icon to download

It is increasingly important that students who intend to become nutrition professionals acquire the skills to routinely read, understand, and critically evaluate the primary research literature in nutrition. American Dietetic Associate (ADA) accreditation standards require that the undergraduate curriculum include evaluation of primary literature. Hierarchical and sequence thinking maps were used to assist students in developing a process for obtaining the necessary skills in critical evaluation of the literature in an increasingly complex area, nutrition sciences.

An Examination of Student Performance after Two Years of Thinking Maps® Implementation in Three Tennessee Schools
By Katharine Mabie Hickie, East Tennessee State University, Tennessee, United States. 2006

An Examination of Student Performance after Two Years of Thinking Maps® Implementation in Three Tennessee Schools
By Katharine Mabie Hickie, East Tennessee State University, Tennessee, United States. 2006


The purpose of this study was to determine what, if any, association exists between Thinking Maps® instruction and student achievement in fifth grade students in Reading/Language and Mathematics as reported by the State NCE scores of the criterion referenced portion of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test in 3 Title I elementary schools in northeast Tennessee.

Based on the analysis and findings of this study, implementing the Thinking Maps® program in the whole school approach appears to have been a successful step in improving student achievement in the area of Reading/Language.

Click on the PDF icon to download

Organization: The Internal Structure of Writing
By Marsha Morgan, Southern Nevada Writing Project. Fall Institute, United States. 2001

Click on the PDF icon to download

Summary: But the glaring revelation for me was the obvious lack of organization in many of the pieces. So began my journey to find ways to help my students stay focused in their writing, to build bridges with words that would link thoughts together in logical ways. I wanted them to write beginnings that built anticipation in their readers, and endings that made the reader linger over what they just read. What would the experts tell me about organization in children's writing? What could I learn from the children themselves?

bottom of page