Graphs and Visual Aids

A visual or graphic aid is any image that assists you, the reader, in understanding the text which accompanies the visual aid.

Too often graphs, diagrams, charts and tables are casually glanced over or bypassed completely by readers.  Through this habit, the reader fails to benefit from the tremendous help these aids can provide.  Textbook reading is improved when you have strategies to help your comprehension and retention of what you are reading.  One plan which can assist with comprehension, especially advanced, or college level books, is the methodical practice of incorporating the graphs and visual aids into your reading and studying.

In these web pages, the most frequently encountered visual aids in content area texts are explained.  Look at their format and purpose.

  • Visual aids are designed to summarize information.  Sometimes the amount of data is so large that an aid is the only practical way of making the information accessible.
  • Visual aids allow the writer to explain complex ideas more concretely, and the reader to visualize abstract concepts.
  • Visuals aids can even present new or additional information to the written text.

When reading any text which is accompanied by visual aids or graphs, take your time to look over the item and understand how it is related to the text.