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

What are students learning?

Reading Literature

Grade 3: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #7: Comprehend information from multiple representations

Standard: Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting). RL.3.7

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 Amos and Boris by William Steig. Before reading, preview the story by looking at the illustrations. Model how to make predictions about what the story will be about, as well as the theme or mood. 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.
  • Think Aloud: Read aloud a story to students. As you read the story aloud, explain how the author and illustrator use words, illustrations, and visuals to set the mood of the story.
  • Grand Conversations: Gather students to engage in a conversation about the story. Look at the pictures/illustrations. Ask a series of questions to the group of students that requires them to explain the mood of the story using the descriptive words and illustrations/visuals from the story. Questions may include:
    • What do you see in the picture/illustration?
    • How is this picture/illustration making you feel?
    • What kind of mood is the author setting for the story?
    • How is the author using words, pictures, or visuals to foster this mood?

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:

  • keep images clean with little clutter
  • add textures to images for the student to feel as it is described
  • choose colors that show up for all people, including those who are color blind
  • use high contrasting images and words (bold black on white)

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 and should 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 connecting diverse media to the 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.
  • Art: Bring in (or have students bring in) examples of advertisements, movie posters, or items that have illustrations on them. Discuss how they create a mood or emphasize aspects of a character or setting without using words. Then, encourage students to put words to the illustration to connect different media and formats.

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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