Explain how information from multiple representations of a topic contribute to understanding of the topic (Inclusive Big Idea #7)

What are students learning?

Reading Literature

Grade 6: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #7: Explain how information from multiple representations of a topic contribute to understanding of the topic

Standard: Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch. RL.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?

  • Anchor Text: Use anchor texts such as the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio and the corresponding film Wonder (2017). After reading a chapter, present a clip from the film. Ask students to compare and contrast the two forms (particularly considering point of view and descriptions), and vote as to their preference. 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 two different contexts, read a story and then view a movie based on the story. Compare the experience of the two different ways by completing a Venn diagram. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • Grand Conversations: To delve deeper into the differences between stories presented in text and those presented on film, read a book that has had a movie made from it. Next, have a conversation about the similarities and differences. Questions to consider asking include:
    • What happens in the book that doesn’t happen in the film?
    • Are the characters, settings, and events you read about in the story represented as you envisioned in the film?
    • How does the film help you understand the feelings/thoughts of the character? Do you have a better understanding of the character after reading the story or watching the film?
    • What version most impacted your understanding of the theme?
  • Act It Out: Students can participate in role playing/performing the texts that they have read. After, they can discuss what aspects of the story they were able to convey through their performance and what they found challenging.

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 if information is presented in only one way, such as text or audio.

Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:

  • offer alternatives to text such as objects, partial objects, tactual representations
  • combine text with gestures, sounds, and objects to add additional representation options
  • provide digital options for students to adjust the font, contrast, volume or rate of speech or sound
  • ensure videos have closed and visual captioning

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
      • Dramatic performance: a play of film representing the events of the story, characters are represented by actors and costumes, settings must be recreated by scenery


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.

Everyday Connections

  • At the Library: Review the schedule of your local library or theater to see if they will be presenting a live version of one of your required texts. Take your students to see the show and compare and contrast the performance to the reading of the text. 

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.

Find another Inclusive Big Idea

Grade Level
Subject Area