Strategy #3: Reading Charts

Students will encounter many different types of charts in textbooks. Two common ones are pie charts and process charts. Each has its own purposes and specific ways of reading for comprehension. It is important for students to understand what kind of chart they are looking at before they can interpret it.

Pie Chart

Students need to know that a pie chart is a visual representation of parts to the whole. In other words, each slice of the pie represents some percentage of the total. A bigger percentage becomes a bigger slice of the pie.

Example Pie Chart

This pie chart illustrates the same information as the previous table on international students. However, unlike the table, this pie chart helps the reader draw comparisons by percentages. Notice how the distinct colors help readers see the differences immediately.

Teaching students to read this graphic is relatively simple. For example, have them identify the categories with the most and the least international students.