Comprehend information from multiple representations (Inclusive Big Idea #7)

What are students learning?

Reading Informational Text

Grade 2: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #7: Comprehend information from multiple representations

Standard: Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text. RI.2.7

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?
  • Think, Pair, Share: Have students identify a labeled photo, diagram, or graph from an informational text. With a peer, engage students in a discussion to interpret the information provided in the graphic. After they have had time to discuss with a peer they can share their thoughts with the rest of the class verbally, with text, or using another way to share. As they share with the rest of the class, model how to use the prompting and help facilitate the discussion. See this TIP Sheet for more information on Think, Pair, Share.
  • Think Aloud: The purpose of asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they read. To model this, read aloud a high-interest informational text. Periodically, model how to stop and ask questions. Provide space for students to record ideas and offer prompts to help them self-question. For this particular think-aloud, identify a photo/graphic/diagram and model how you distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text. 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: Comprehend information from multiple representations
  • Tell me more about… Multiple Representations of Information
    • Visuals used in informational text may include charts, graphs, tables, timelines, or diagrams. 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

  • Visuals: Students may overlook visuals in instruction. Remember that comprehension can be supported by visuals. Explicitly teach ways that visuals support reader understanding of text rather than being superfluous to the content.
  • Characteristics of Different Media: Texts can present the same information in different ways 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 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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