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The current systematic review aimed to investigate in what ways the incorporation of visual display tasks benefits K-12 students’ content-area learning. After screening 1693 articles at abstract level and a systematic evaluation of methodological quality, we synthesized 44 articles for this review. The qualitative synthesis of the studies is organized by categories of interaction with visual displays (ViDis), instructional support, and types of knowledge and learning. Overall findings indicate the simple inclusion of visual displays does not guarantee a positive learning effect. More detailed findings distinguish three categories of ViDis: author-provided, student-filled-in, and student-created visual displays. Furthermore, we discuss each category’s effectiveness for students’ learning. Additionally, findings on retention and information comprehension are mixed when students are either provided with ViDis or complete ViDis themselves. However, the integration of ViDis in K-12 classrooms indicate highly promising results for enhancing students’ higher-level learning (i.e., analyzing, evaluating, applying, and creating). Finally, we provided practical implications for K-12 teachers and recommendations for future research.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, in Journal of Visual Literacy on September 2019, available online at The content of this document may vary from the final published version.

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