Strategy #1: Understanding the role of visuals in a textbook

Many students skip over or quickly glance at visuals in textbooks. They often do this to save time, but sometimes they don't know how to approach the visuals. Let students know how important these visuals can be to their understanding of the reading. Take a few minutes to walk students through a chapter that includes visuals. Have them discuss the visuals' relevance and importance by answering the following questions:

1. What type of visual appears on page x? (pie chart, photograph, line graph, etc.)
2. Does it complement the material and/or explain the material in a different way? If so, how?
3. Does it add new material or understanding to the concepts in the reading? If so, how?
4. Does it help to make the material more interesting? If so, how?

Pull-out boxes
If your textbook has them, students might be tempted to skip or quickly glance at the pull-out boxes. Remind students that it is worth their time to read these boxes because they highlight important passages, elaborate on concepts, provide explanations or examples, or ask important questions. Emphasize to students that they are purposefully placed there to enhance the reading experience.

Students should be reminded that they cannot get the "whole picture" by only examining visuals and pull-out boxes, although some may be tempted to try this approach.