Make a Movie in Your Head

Reading to Learn: Visualization

Adair Bowman


Rationale: Fluent readers need to learn the skill of visualization to help build comprehension and it also helps the reader to stay engaged in the story. Students who are actively engage in the text will learn and grasp the meaning better those who are not. Children need to learn the how to create a visualization of what is going on in reading. By drawing pictures of what they read will help children to remember to visualize. This lesson will help student learn to visualize while reading so they can comprehend and stay involved with the story like expert readers.





Copies of “A Pizza the Size of the Sun” by Jack Prelutsky

 Copies for each child: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munez Ryan


Dry erase markers/board

Assessment Worksheet


1. Vocabulary Review before beginning activity: today we a going to start reading a story about a little girl named Esperanza. It is call Esperanza Rising . Some new words that you will see as you read this book are: Fiesta, immigration, mesmerized, and crochet. Example Lesson:    1. Define: fiesta is a Spanish word used for party, used to describe a religious, holiday, or birthday party.  2. Give sentence: People in Spain or Mexico call parties, fiestas. Most Americans call gatherings for an event parties.  3. Questions about fiesta: which is more like a fiesta- work or friend gathering to watch a movie, Monday morning or Friday night?   3. Finish the sentence: On the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo (have creative response).


2.  Say:   Today, we are going to be working on something that is a very important part of becoming a skillful reader. Skillful readers need to be able to comprehend or understand what they have read.  Today we are going to learn about a comprehension strategy that will help us to be better reader and grasp the meaning of the text or book we are reading. This strategy is called visualization.

3. Say: Visualization is creating a movie inside your head while you read a text. When you read a story you want to be able to see the images inside your head so that you understand what is going on.

4.  Model: Say: I am going to read a sentence and while I read the sentence I am going to picture in my head what is going on so that I can understand the sentence. I want everyone to try this with me and close your eyes to picture this.  “Sally is wearing a red dress and ran outside to jump rope with her friends.” After reading this I pictured in my head (Close your eyes to emphasize) a girl wearing a red dress and she was outside jump roping with her friends. Did you picture something similar? I am now going to draw this up on the board to represent what I was picturing while I read that sentence. Now it’s your turn.

5. Give students a copy of the poem A Pizza the Size of the Sun. Say: We are going to read this poem together while we read it I want you all to try and visualize what the author is describing in this poem.

6. Read poem to the class. Say: Okay so we just read that poem, I want you to share some of you visualizations with the class. What are some things you pictured inside your head while you read this story? What was on the pizza? Allow students to share what the pizza looked like to them. Say: Everyone is doing a great job comprehending this poem using the strategy of visualization. Now we are going to start a chapter and using our new strategy of visualization we are going to practice that so that we can be expert readers.

7. Pass out the book Esperanza Rising and give book talk. This is a story about a girl from Mexico named Esperanza who after tragedy strikes her family her whole world is turned upside down. Her family then moves to America were things are very different from where she was from. She has to learn new things and find a way to survive and help her family. Let’s read and find out more about Esperanza. 

8.   Say: We are going to use the skill visualizing like we have been practicing while we read the first chapter of this book. We are going to read chapter one quietly to ourselves focusing on visualizing what is happening in the story. When you finish reading I want you to come up and get a piece of white paper (have paper for students) from my desk and draw a picture of your favorite scene in chapter one or character. Remember what you visualized while you were reading the story. You may use crayons to draw your pictures. After you complete your drawing, write one paragraph describing what you drew and how it represents what you read from the story. Great reader visualize while they are reading and I want you all to become expert readers.

9. Use the assessment chart to assess the student’s drawings.






Student’s illustration accurately reflects a passage/character from the chapter.

Student pays attention to detail.

Student statement has a clear correlation between the statement and the illustration that pertain to a passage within the chapter.

Student includes a character or scene from the 1st chapter of the story.





Jacobs, Ashley. (2007). “I See a Bed Head”.

Smith, Leah. (2007). “Picture This”

Prelutsky, Jack. A Pizza the Size on the Sun.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. (2000), Esperanza Rising, New York: Scholastic Inc.

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