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

What are students learning?

Reading Literature

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. RL.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?

  • Anchor Text: Use an anchor text such as Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes. Ask students to describe how the lion behaves in the library, pulling from both the story and the pictures. Learn more about accessing grade-level text in this TIP Sheet.
  • 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. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • Puppet Theater: Using a felt board, create props from a familiar story. The props should include the story’s setting and characters created as puppets. In a small group, ask students to reenact the story, including characters, setting, or plot. As they reenact the story, students should be encouraged to express what information was gathered through the story and what was learned from the illustrations. They can also think about how they are representing the text through the felt board representation.
  • Grand Conversations: To delve deeper into the details of the stories, gather a small group together to have a conversation about what the text and/or the images convey. Questions might include:
    • Who were the characters in the story?
    • How did the characters feel about one another?
    • What was the problem in the story? How was the problem solved at the end?
    • Look at the illustrations on this page. Can you describe what you see?
  • Think Aloud: As you read texts aloud, model your thoughts about the characters, setting, problem/solution, and events. Talk aloud as you read aloud and chart some of your thoughts on the whiteboard or chart paper. In addition, clearly describe what you see in the illustrations as you read. This will provide a model for students as they independently read texts on their own.

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 that information is presented so students cannot see or hear the information.

Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:

  • offer digital formats so the size of text, contrast, or other visual content can be adjusted.
  • offer alternatives to text such as objects, partial objects, tactile representations
  • use text alternatives such as captions or automated speech-to-text or text-to-speech software
  • follow accessibility standards (NIMAS, DAISY, etc.) when creating digital text

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.

  • What are "Story Elements"?
    • Story elements are, essentially, the parts of a story. These elements develop the actions or events in the story in a logical way to enable readers to easily follow the text.
    • Students can compare the presentations of a story through different media, such as illustration or words.
  • What are Some Essential Elements?
    • characters- the individuals in the story.
    • setting- the location and time period where the story takes place.
    • plot- what happens in the story; a clear beginning, middle, and end.
    • conflict- the problem in the story; the plot in a story should be centered on the conflict.
    • resolution- the solution to the problem or conflict.
  • How Can I Incorporate Multimedia Storytelling?
    • Readers can gather information about a story through multiple forms of media.
    • Text: The words in a story describe characters, settings, and events.
    • Illustrations: Represent story elements through drawings, pictures, or other forms of artistic representations.
    • Audio: Uses sound effects, music, or lyrics to help convey information about the story.


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

Go beyond the specific standard! These examples can spark ideas to generalize related skills from the content to real-world experiences for all students.

Common Student Misconceptions

  • Story Elements: Students often miss aspects of story elements when summarizing a text. In addition, some texts are considered “inconsiderate” texts and do not provide enough to allow students to fully understand all story elements and must fill in the gaps with prior experiences and personal preferences, leading to problems with comprehension.
  • Characteristics of Different Media: Stories can present the same information in different ways from other media. While stories use words to describe aspects of characters, settings, 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?

First Grade: Comprehend information from multiple representations (RL 7)

Second Grade: Comprehend information from multiple representations (RI 7)

Third Grade: Comprehend information from multiple representations (RL 7)

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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