Understanding graphics, diagrams, illustrations, charts and maps
Understand how text features (e.g., format, graphics, sequence, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps) make information accessible and usable.
Be able to use visual organizers (such as diagrams, charts, or maps) and other special features in books (such as title pages, glossaries, and highlighted words) to help you understand important points and quickly find information.
True or False: You have to read a chapter in your textbook from start to finish, like you would a novel. (false)
You are reading a magazine article about going on a safari. The headings within the article are: Countries to Visit, Animals to See, What To Bring. Which heading should you look under to see if South America offers safaris? (Countries to Visit)
What does the Index tell you? (A list of topics and the page number to find them in the book)
Would you expect to find text features like a table of contents, diagrams, and an index in a narrative text or expository text? (expository)
True or False: Graphs, charts, illustrations, and other visual aids in text clarify and present the information in a different way. (true)
Text features – parts of the text, other than the body of the text, that organize or add meaning, such as graphics, diagrams, illustrations, charts, captions, glossary, index, table of contents, headings, etc.
Text features are there to help you understand important points and quickly find information.
Make a copy of the pages from a chapter in one of your textbooks that you will be studying soon. It could be history, math, science, or whichever subject you would like. Cut out any text features that catch you eye, like key pictures, diagrams, charts, etc. Sort them into logical order and write your own captions about them. You might be surprised how much you can learn without reading the body of the text!
Question, Question, Question
Before starting an academic reading assignment, skim the pages for pictures, charts, graphs, headings, and other features to get an idea of what you will read. Write down any questions that occur to you from what you see. Once you are finished reading the body of the text, see if you can answer your questions.
Reading is like exercising—you need to warm-up first! Reading is more difficult if you don’t warm-up your brain with pre-reading. Here’s an activity to help you warm up.
Bold – List any words or phrases that are in bold print.
Italics- List any words or phrases that are italicized.
Graphics- Describe or copy any graphics (such as graphs, charts, tables, etc.)
What’s Your Gateway?
Just like a gateway is where you walk through the fence to enter a garden, a gateway is where you enter text. For novels, the gateway is usually the beginning, which is designed to grab your attention right away. For nonfiction, there are many possible gateways. What jumps out at you at first? An illustration? The Table of Contents? The title? A heading? For the next three nonfiction things that you read, note what your gateway was.