Reference Materials

Resource Materials

UDL 2.3 UDL 6.3

Reference materials are resources that a student can use when completing academic or social and emotional learning tasks. These materials provide pertinent and useful facts and information that can make work accurate and easy to understand. They also shift the focus of the task from simple memorization and recall to higher level thinking and processing. Some reference materials can be general and readily available such as a dictionary. Reference materials may also be more specialized and specific to the task and the learner such as a writing checklist or glossary of key vocabulary words. Reference materials can be developed by the teacher or can also be made by the student such as open notes or a word bank which can then be referred to throughout the lesson.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Reference Tool

Poster Set: Reference Materials

A collection of posters designed to inform students about reference materials. Posters can be displayed in the classroom to support students during writing and research activities.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Reading, Writing · 7 pages

Reference Tool

Student Summary Sheet: Reference Materials

A summary sheet designed to inform students about common reference materials. Provides suggestions for when to use each type of reference material.

Grade 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing · 1 pages

Reference Tool

List of Online Resources: Reference Materials

A list of websites that provide online reference materials.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing · 1 pages

Reference Tool

Anchor Chart: Reference Materials

A visual poster summarizing the purposes of common reference materials

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · English Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Language · 1 pages

Implementation Tips

Have reference materials that are tailored to the specific content students are engaging with.
Practice and Use
Teach students how to use the reference material (e.g. open notes) within the academic task (e.g. taking a test).
Whole Class Support
Reference materials can be created for whole class to use (e.g. reference book on animals with pictures and descriptions that is available in class library).
Student Support
Students may need support for creating the reference materials. For example, students can use a template for taking notes or view a template/example of note-taking page structure in a visual dictionary.


Cheat Sheet
Open Notes
Visual Dictionary

Related Strategies