Part of my focus while studying here at WWU is how to work support English language learners and more in general how to increase literacy among my students.  Infographics help this two-fold.  I’ll explain all that in a minute.  But first, some of you might be wondering what an infographic is.  Let me explain with… an infographic!

What is an infographic?

I see infographics all over the net and especially on blogs.  They are a great way to present statistics and facts in a visual way.  That’s the first way they help promote literacy: by giving a visual support.  According to an infographic on this site, people are 30 times more likely to read an infographic in full than a text-heavy article and 40% of people respond to visual information more than text — and that’s for adults.  I don’t have any data for what this looks like for our students (I would guess it’s higher), but forty percent means that in a classroom of thirty students twelve of them will do much better with visual supports!  Especially for students who struggle with reading or students whose first language is not English, informational text can be difficult to understand.  Visuals like infographics are not limited to supporting informational text, but that’s definitely an area where students would benefit a lot from some extra support.  
The second way that inforgraphics help with literacy is in terms of digital and media literacy.  This skill is useful not only for “college and career readiness“, but also for becoming an informed citizen and consumer.  Education big wigs have taken note and now media literacy is embedded in our national reading and writing standards.  The new common core standards state introduce this media literacy in 4th grade, and by middle school students are expected to be able to apply it and create their own visuals.
So how can we use infographics to meet this need?  I recently finished a practicum in which I was teaching about space.  I brought in all sorts of models and visuals to support their learning (a papier mâche sun, scale models of distances from the Earth for students to measure, etc.), but I think that presenting students with an infographic of the day’s learning could have benefitted students’ understanding.  Here’s one I created over the weekend based on the ideas we learned in a lesson a few weeks ago:

moon title=

I created this infographic in maybe thirty minutes using the tool and data that I’d already gathered.  The “percent of fourth graders interviewed” came from my pre-assessment data from the lesson that I had saved on my Google Drive document (See this post).  The pizza sun information came from an assessment probe I used from Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy, and the information about four moons fitting across the Earth came from data we gathered during an activity from the GEMS Space Science Sequence.  This would fit under the reading standard for fourth graders regarding informational literacy.  For older students, you could have them take the same data and make their own infographics.  These would be a great tool for presenting group research projects or jigsawing statistics-heavy readings in middle-school or high school.
While I haven’t tried out any other infographic-building tools, I was more than satisfied with  The only hope I have is that they add more pre-loaded graphics so that the infographics can have more consistency in their visual layout.  There are of course plenty of other infographic-building sites out there, so go ahead and explore!  
Also, be sure to check out a new section I’ve been working on about activism in children’s literature!

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