What are students learning?

Reading Informational Text

Grade 1: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #6: Determine the source of information

Standard: Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text. RI.1.6

How could I teach this?

Think about how instructional strategies and activities can give students multiple ways to engage with learning. One way won’t work for all, so how can you remove and reduce barriers for all students?

  • Venn Diagram Study: To create a deeper understanding of the difference between how a story is presented in text versus pictures, use a Venn diagram to compare what is presented through the story and what we learn through pictures. Students can use Post It notes, highlighters, or other digital tools to make comparisons. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • Grand Conversations: To delve deeper into the relationship between an illustration and the words in the text, conduct a grand conversation with a small group or whole class. Pair visuals with tactile supports (outline the picture with glue or puffy paint). See this TIP Sheet for more information on Whole Group Discussions. Questions might include:
    • What do you see in this illustration? How could you describe this image to someone?
    • Look at the illustration of the topic. What does it show? Let’s listen to the words from the text. How does the author describe the topic?
    • What does this illustration show us about the topic?
  • Socratic Seminar: To encourage students to think more about the author’s purpose of the text, including what question the author is answering, explaining, or describing. Have the question presented clearly so students can keep it in mind as they read or listen to the text. Teachers can lead students in Socratic Seminars, modeling how to make a list of questions to ask about the author’s purpose. Provide ways for students to record their ideas during the discussion, such as a graphic organizer or digital option. Throughout the seminar, the teacher should model how to be a question-asker. Students should have a free-flowing conversation with minimal interruptions from the teacher. Provide flexible ways for students to contribute to the conversation, such as verbally or through a non-verbal backchannel.
  • Think, Pair, Share: Ask students to think individually about the author’s purpose, then meet with a peer to discuss their answers. Encourage them to record their learning using graphic organizers, bulleted lists, or using other tools. After they have had time to discuss with a peer, they can share their thoughts with the rest of the class. They can share verbally, using charts or other non-verbal options. See this TIP Sheet for more information on Think, Pair, Share.
  • Discussion Webs: When trying to determine which of two media is the source of information, record a question about the source/information in the middle of a web. Then, extend lines from the web and model or prompt students to provide responses to the question. For example, you may record “Where did I find information about the size of volcanoes?” in the middle of the web. Then, on extended lines, students can offer responses to the question. They may respond with, “In the text,” “In the pictures,” “In the video,” etc. Once they have gathered enough information from the sources, students can decide which of the two options they support. Use discussion web templates (that might be digital or paper-based). Model how to use discussion webs using engaging topics, to begin with, then move to more informational texts.
  • Think Aloud: The purpose of asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they read by themselves. To model this, share an informational text in front of the class. The audio can be captioned, signs, images, and key words can be used to support understanding. Then periodically, stop and ask questions out loud. Think-alouds can also be pre-recorded so that students can listen and watch them multiple times with captions. Then, as you continue to read, model how you begin answering the questions yourself. See this TIP Sheet for more information on how to model using a Think Aloud.

Don’t stop here! Remember to reduce barriers for all students.

Make reducing barriers a process - take a few minutes to think about your process! Is there a barrier related to:

  • interest or engagement? Think about how to incorporate student’s lived experiences, culture, and interests… 
  • background knowledge? Think about how to highlight key ideas and define key vocabulary… 
  • showing what they know? Think about having options for how they use learning tools and technology to communicate…

For example, one possible barrier is the amount of information that a student needs to hold in mind.

Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:

  • be aware of how much sensory input occurs at once, perhaps offer the option to use headphones
  • show examples and provide answers to check along the way
  • provide templates or graphic organizers
  • allow use of spell checks and other tools 

Use these Inclusive Strategies to help reduce barriers.

Tell me more about this Inclusive Big Idea (I need a refresher)

Brush up on the content of this Inclusive Big Idea. It will help you and your colleagues to understand and teach this content better.

  • The Big Idea: Determine the source of information
  • Tell me more about… Sources of Information
    • Students are constantly gathering information from a variety of media. It is important for them to develop the ability to determine the source of information so they can critically evaluate the credibility of the information and determine what is factual from what is shaped by their opinion or the opinion of the author.


Looking for more suggestions? Target student common misconceptions, build on interdisciplinary links, and implement strategies and supports across multiple lessons or units.

Common Student Misconceptions

  • Characteristics of Different Media: Texts can present the same information differently from other media. While texts use words to describe aspects of people, topics, or events, these elements can be represented visually through other media.
  • Social Studies: Students can use illustrations, including maps and graphs, to describe the text
  • Science/Math: Students can use illustrations, including charts, graphs, and diagrams, to better understand the text.

Everyday Connections

  • On the Phone: Invite students to think about the different ways they express words, such as using emojis, gestures, or expressions to convey an idea.

Explore other Inclusive Big Ideas to think about the content you are teaching. How can you connect what you are teaching now to what has been taught before or what will be taught in the future?

Other TIES resources:

Inclusive Big Ideas: Standards-based resources for inclusive classrooms | TIES Center

The Inclusive Big Ideas were adapted from resources created by the NCSC Project , a federal grant from the US Department of Education (PR/Award #: H373X100002), However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

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