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

What are students learning?

Reading Informational Text

Grade 6: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #7: Comprehend information from multiple representations

Standard: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. RI.6.7

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?

  • Model to Understand: Keep records of important information from various sources using a graphic organizer. Keep a record of recurring topics as the text is read, noting events and details that support the topic (e.g., information about planting fruits and vegetables recurs in the text). Model using a graphic organizer (e.g., a T-chart) to summarize information gained from multiple sources. See this TIP Sheet for more information on graphic organizers.

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.
  • 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

  • In the News: Have students review news stories from TV or online and have them discuss what information is taken in from the text/spoken words and what is gathered from the pictures/video.

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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