In A Simple Tool for Synthesizing Multiple Texts, I share my rationale behind the power of providing students with an easy-to-use comprehension tool: a plain piece of a paper. By modeling note-taking taking and summarizing key details, side-by-side, students are then set up to pick and choose details or evidence they want to include in their responses.
When we try to process multiple pieces of information, and then synthesize the details for common meaning and connections, we need to look at the information side-by-side. Our minds need to see, in short hand, information beside each other.
In this short video (5 minutes) I continue to model and explain the power of the blank page, including where we can add a section for key words or content-specific vocabulary. The goal here is to help students notice these aspects of the text and then provide them with a system for processing in this way.