Snap a Picture!

Reading to Learn

Nicole Lawyer



Rationale: Learning to comprehend text as they read is an important skill that children need to learn to become expert readers.  After students learn how to read, the most important to practice is comprehension. It is important for students to visualize what they are reading because it helps them to better understand what is happening in the story.  When readers can picture the story unfolding in their mind, they become actively engaged in the meaning of the text.  This lesson will help students learn to visualize what they are reading by creating mental images of their reading in their mind.  We will do this by practicing visualizing with a variety of different readings and using pictures to explain the events of the story.




1. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath (1 copy of the book for each student)

2. "I Bought A Pet Tomato" by Kenn Nesbitt (1 copy of the poem for each student)

3. Drawing paper and crayons for each student

4. Assessment checklist 




1. "Today we are going to learn how to visualize something while we are reading.  Who can tell me what visualize means?"  Allow children time to respond.  "That’s right, to visualize something means to see it in your mind even though it’s really not there.  I’m sure everyone has visualized something before.  Let’s practice for just a minute.  I want everyone to close your eyes and think about a trip to the beach while I read.


Read: "I stepped into the soft, warm sand.  It was the first day of vacation and I couldn't wait to jump into the ocean waves.  The seagulls swooped over my head while I tried to get settled into the sand.  It was very crowded at the beach today."


Allow time for children to visualize.  "When I call on you, I want you to tell me what you see. (Allow time for students to think, and then call on them)  Great!  You saw waves crashing, sand, beach blankets and umbrellas.  What you just did was visualization."


2.  Give each student a copy of "I Bought A Pet Tomato" by Kenn Nesbitt. "Now I want you to silently read the poem to yourself."  Allow time for children to read while you also read the poem silently. After students have read poem silently, read it aloud to them while they close their eyes and visualize.  ""When I read this I imagined a little tomato with a face trying to do all the things people do!  First I imagine a little boy throwing sticks and balls at a tomato.  Then I visualize the tomato running around the yard with little legs."  I want you all to tell me some of the pictures you had in your mind when I read this."  Hold up a previously drawn picture of what you visualized while reading the poem. Raise your hand and tell me something you visualized." (Allow share time). 


4. Give each student a copy of Everything on a Waffle.  "This is a new book we will be reading in class.  It is about a girl named Primrose who loses her parents in a storm at sea.  Primrose begins to have lots of accidents and she is moved from one family to another. Primrose is even put in foster care with a family in another city.   She begins to feel as if nothing will ever go right, and she will never find a good home.  To find out what happens to Primrose we have to read the book.  Now I want you to read the first chapter silently and draw a picture of one thing you visualize while reading."  Allow time for students to read and draw.



Assessment: Have each student come in front of class and tell about hi or her drawing.  Assess children’s drawings based on if they depict what the author was trying to make the reader visualize and the children’s ability to describe the picture to the class. Use this checklist for assessment:


          Student accurately depicted events


          Student accurately explained the events in the chapter




Nesbitt, K. "I Bought a Pet Tomato."

Reading Genie:

Horvath, Polly. Everything on a Waffle. 2001. United States: Sunburst Books.

Byrd, Sarah. Snap a Picture.



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