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Classroom Strategies

Frayer Model


The Frayer Model is a strategy that uses a graphic organizer for vocabulary building. This technique requires students to (1) define the target vocabulary words or concepts, and (2) apply this information by generating examples and non-examples. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students.


This instructional strategy promotes critical thinking and helps students to identify and understand unfamiliar vocabulary. The Frayer Model can be used with the entire class, small groups, or for individual work. The Frayer Model draws on a student’s prior knowledge to build connections among new concepts and creates a visual reference by which students learn to compare attributes and examples. 

Create and use the strategy

Pre-select a list of key vocabulary from a reading selection. The Frayer Model should be explained and a graphic organizer provided to each student. Then direct students to complete the template individually, in small groups or as a whole class. Model the type and quality of desired answers for the specific concept.

  1. Review vocabulary words or concept list with the class before students read the selection. 
  2. Have students read the assigned text and carefully define the target concepts. Have students complete the four-square chart for each concept. 
  3. Ask the students to share their conclusions with the entire class. These presentations may be used to review the entire list of new vocabulary or concepts. 

Further reading 


Frayer, D., Frederick, W. C., and Klausmeier, H. J. (1969). A Schema for Testing the Level of Cognitive Mastery. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Center for Education Research. 

Just Read Now (n.d.). Frayer Model. Retrieved 2008, February 25, from