Creative Minds

Reading to Learn

Kelley Adams


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach students how to visualize while reading, an important comprehension skill. This is especially important as the students reach higher grade levels and become fluent readers. Because they do not have pictures anymore, they need to use creative thinking in order to have a picture in their mind of the characters and settings of the book and comprehend the information they are reading.


Copy of Secret Letters From 0 to 10 for each student

White paper

Crayons/colored pencils/pencils



1. "Good morning, class! Today, we are going to talk about visualization. Does anyone know what that word means? It is a very important skill to have when reading books, especially ones without pictures. It means you come up with a picture in your mind of the characters, setting, and anything else from the book.

2. First, I will do an example with you. As I say this sentence, I am going to visualize the scene and draw it on the board while you draw it on your paper. 'A boy and girl sat on the shore of the lake with fishing poles. It was late afternoon, so the sun was setting and the water was very calm.' What did you draw? How did you know what to draw? Have you been fishing before, or did you have to use what you know from television? If you look around, you may notice that everyone's pictures are different, but that is how visualization works!"

3. Today, we are going to begin reading Secret Letters from 0 to 10. Ernest is a ten-year-old boy who does the same things every single day. One day, a new girl, Victoria, joins his class and he becomes friends with her. Suddenly, Victoria gets Ernest into all kinds of adventures. Will they stay best friends and will she get him in trouble?

4. Before we start reading the book, I want to go over a few difficult vocabulary words you may come across while reading: immaculate, methodically, disintegrate, utilitarian.

First, I will discuss immaculate. Immaculate means perfectly clean, neat, or tidy.

The example from the book is, "It could have been a closet or a cell in an old prison: just a bed, a table, a chair, and a closet, all in immaculate order.

Which is immaculate, a pig pen or a museum display of a farm?

Completion sentence: My bedroom was immaculate because ____.

5. Now, I want you to begin reading chapter one silently. As you are reading, begin visualizing the characters, their homes, and any other settings the book mentions. When you are finished with chapter one, I want you to illustrate at least one scene from the chapter. Write a short description under your picture so we know what scene it is. We will share our pictures once everyone is finished to see how we each visualized the chapter.


I will assess the students' comprehension by looking at their drawings and sentences. I will use the following checklist:

1. Student's illustration accurately reflects a passage from the chapter.   Yes   No       

2. Student is able to orally explain their drawing and the part of the story it represents.    Yes    No        

3. Student's statement demonstrates a clear understanding between the statement and the illustrations that pertain to a passage within the chapter.  Yes    No        

4. Student includes each of the characters from the chapter in his/her illustration.      Yes    No


Castleberry, Megan. Picture This, Picture That, Paint a Picture in Your Mind!

Rogers, Susie. Let Your Mind Be the Adventure!

Morgenstern, Susie. Secret Letters From 0 to 10. New York. Puffin Books (1998)

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