Determine point of view and its impact on a text; Compare differing points of view on the same topic (Inclusive Big Idea #6)

What are students learning?

Reading Informational Text

Grade 8: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #6: Determine point of view and its impact on a text; Compare differing points of view on the same topic

Standard: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints. RI.8.6

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?

  • Informational Venn Diagrams: For texts that have different points of view, determine how the points of view are similar and how they are different using a Venn Diagram. Within the left circle, record one point of view. Within the right circle, record the second point of view. In the middle, record through writing, images, pre-printed phrases, voice, or video recording how both points of view are similar. See this TIP Sheet for more information on graphic organizers.
  • Cubes: Students can create cubes to examine multiple points of view in a historical or scientific text. First, students and teachers can choose a topic related to a social studies or science theme. In small groups, or on concurrent days, students can examine the topic from different perspectives on different days. On each day, they write about the perspectives on one sheet of paper. After examining six different perspectives, the students can tape the perspectives together to make a cube. Perspectives can be captured through one word, a quote, an image, scribing, or the student can choose from a list of possible options. For example, if a student is studying the Civil War, they could identify/match perspectives from Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, an enslaved person, and a soldier. Or, students may have different categories for each side of the cube in which they describe, compare, associate, analyze, apply, and argue for a side.
  • Instructional Conversations: Individually, in small groups, or with the whole class, engage in a conversation about a content-area topic. Ask your students what they already know about the topic to determine their background knowledge. Build more background knowledge through direct information about the topic (videos, gifs, listening to a text, reading a text, glossary). Then, ask different questions about the topic and allow the group to have an open conversation about the topic, using their new background knowledge. For this particular instructional conversation, ask students about points of view. See this TIP Sheet for more information on Whole Group Discussions.
  • Debates: For informational texts in which multiple points of view are presented, students can participate in a debate. One student (or group of students) can take one position. Another student (or group of students) can take the opposing side. Students should identify the topic, prepare for the debate, conduct the debate, and reflect on the outcome. The debate can be in “real-time” through verbal/sign/AAC communication or via texts, Twitter, TikTok, etc. to allow more time for students to consider their responses.
  • Think Aloud: The purpose of asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they access information by themselves. To model this strategy, while reading aloud an informational text periodically, stop and ask yourself questions out loud, modeling with AAC. Then, as you continue to read, begin answering the questions yourself. This think-aloud should focus entirely on point of view. Describe each point of view presented in the informational text and offer some explanation about why these different points of view exist. Use signal words in the dialogue to help identify the point of view. 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 point of view and its impact on a text; Compare differing points of view on the same topic
  • Tell me more about… Point of View
    • Determining the point of view of a text can help students deepen their understanding of what they read and read with a critical lens. These are lifelong skills readers need when critically analyzing text to distinguish different perspectives and/or determine propaganda.
  • Tell me more about… Comparing Differing Points of View
    • When comparing differing points of view it is important to consider how the point of view affects the author’s presentation of information in a text. Students may need support in using evidence in the text to explain how the author’s point of view can alter or shade what is presented in the text.


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

  • Students commonly mistake point of view for what the author thinks or a character’s opinion about something. Students must understand that an author’s use of POV influences how the story is told. If a story is told from first person POV, the author is presenting the events from the personal perspective and experience of a single character. If a story is told from third person POV, the author is intentionally limiting (third person limited) or sharing (third person omniscient) the reader’s awareness of the thoughts and feelings of all characters to let the story unfold.
  • Social Studies: When reviewing primary and secondary source documents, ask students to identify the pronouns used in the document and identify whether the text is from the first or third person point of view. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each when it comes to accounts of historical or current events.

Everyday Connections

  • Relationships: Encourage students to take part in a perspective taking activity, where they consider an event through the experiences of a peer, family member, or popular figure.

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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