I-Chart or Inquiry Chart

Learning Strategy
  • topic
  • several texts related to the topic
  • blank I-Chart
Target Student

Students who struggles to compile information from multiple sources and organize information.


An I-Chart assists students in collecting information about a given topic from multiple resources while organizing and analyzing the information. It provides students the opportunity to research and reason based on inquiry. The chart also facilitates small group or whole group discussion that deepens students’ understanding of a topic.

How To

1. Choose a topic and create a set of questions. Allow the topic to be a little controversial so that there is a possibility for various responses. Ensure that the questions are intriguing and hearty. Optional: Allow the students to develop their own questions after having been provided multiple models or opportunities to practice.

2. Choose multiple texts that surround a given topic for the students to read. Optional: Students may select their own texts.

3. Give students a blank I-Chart. On the chart, there should be one column for each question, a row for relevant prior knowledge that the student may have, extra rows that are equal to the number of sources chosen, and a final row for a summary of the main ideas.

4. Using their prior knowledge, ask the students to answer the questions before reading the chosen texts. Ask them to record their answers in the first row.

5. The students can now read the texts. They should be encouraged to annotate and make specific notations to answer the I-Chart questions.  

6. Ask the students to summarize each texts' key ideas on the I-Chart and record their responses in the appropriate rows.

7. Ask students to summarize the key points for each question in each column analyzing for uniformities and changes among the texts, and to answer each question given their understanding from the multiple text sources.

8. Optional: Allow whole-class discussion to compare and contrast ideas and the validity/reliability of their sources. Ask students to discuss what they have learned versus what they knew originally.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts

(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)  


Hoffman, J. (1992). Critical reading/thinking across the curriculum: Using I-charts to support learning. Language Arts, 69(2), 121-127.

Loh-Hagan, V & Bickel, D. (2014). Text-based questioning to support student attainment of the CCSS. The California Reader, 48(1), 20-28.  

Yousafzai, M. (2009). Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl. [BBC Blogs]. Retrieved January 15, 2016, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7834402.stm.

Yousafzai, M. (2013, December). Nobel Peace Prize 2014. Speech presented at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, Oslo, Norway.

Yousafzai, M. & Lamb, C. (2015). I am Malala: The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. New York: Little, Brown. (YA)

Sign Up For
Website Updates