Infographics + Infografías = Visual Literacy for All!
April 06, 2023
A picture says a thousand words, and our infographics have a lot to say! So what, exactly, is an infographic? Well, “info” = information and “graphic” = visual representation, so it’s using visuals and graphics to present content in an easy-to-understand way. Infographics can be used to help all learners practice their visual literacy skills. iCivics has 19, which can be found in the Infographic Library. And, in honor of April’s National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month, we are excited to announce that we now have infografías (Spanish versions of all of them).
How do infographics help English and multilingual learners?
“The majority of my Spanish dominant students are English Language Learners full of fear, angst, and hope. When they enter school in the United States they are confronted with grade-level material in language unknown to them. The idea of having to look up every word in a dictionary to translate a grade-level article is overwhelming. Thankfully, iCivics now offers their Infographics in both English and Spanish. There is benefit to this for both English Language Learners and Dual Language Learners as they are able to make cross-linguistic connections between the two languages. This not only helps in comprehension, but in the acquisition of language.” Verónica E Schmidt-Gómez, MEd, GradCert Dual Language Ed, Dual Language Immersion Program DRT, Hillsborough County Public Schools. FL
“As Emerging Language Learners we always view our environment first through images. Viewing the illustrations helps us anchor the language context to the lesson we are mastering. Without the visuals, we don't have a schema to build on.” Maria Sheldon, US History & Spanish Language Arts, Ortiz Middle School, NM
Infographics present language and content together in a comprehensible way which is great for ELs/MLs. The WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework provides a foundation for curriculum, instruction, and assessment for multilingual learners (grades K–12). The updated framework, which is centered on equity and student assets, now includes viewing and visually representing, and infographics are a great way to enhance visual literacy skills.
Each iCivics infographic has a Teacher's Guide (available in English and Spanish) with all the information you need to use it in your classroom right away. We include an introduction to visual literacy skills, guiding questions, suggested activities, and relevant background knowledge and vocabulary.
How can you deepen the learning?
Many of our infographics are thematically linked to iCivics video games or lesson plans so you can use them along with other materials in order to extend the lesson and dig deeper into learning. They are also a good springboard for inquiry-driving instruction. You can ask questions and have students use their visual literacy skills to respond. Here are some ideas:
- Global Toolbox focuses on international organizations and can be presented along with the game Convene the Council which also has an Extension Pack with activities designed to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking (English or Spanish).
- Can you BILL-ieve it? is about how a bill becomes a law and can be taught with the game Branches of Power and its Extension Pack (English or Spanish).
- Running for President explains how a candidate prepares to run for president which works well with Win the White House and its Extension Pack (English or Spanish).
- Trial and Appeal shows how a case works it way up in the court system. It can be paired with Court Quest or Argument Wars which also have Extension Packs in both languages.
In the U.S., multilingual learners (MLs) are one of the fastest growing student populations. These students bring cultural and linguistic diversity and we believe all learners should have the support and tools they need in order to participate in our democracy. In addition to our infographics, we also have built-in supports for all English learners in our games, extension packs, and more. Check out our collection of ELL resources for additional details: iCivics & ELL: Resources to Engage your Multiligual Classroom.
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Written by Kristen Chapron
Kristen Chapron is Senior Editor of Digital Learning and ELL at iCivics. She has worked on all 19 infografías and looks forward to creating even more materials for English and multilingual learners.
This work supported by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP)