Marcia Burt
Reading To Learn

Use Your Mind to Make Mental Images

Rationale: When students reach the fourth grade, they should be at a stage in reading that they can do it effortlessly and automatically. To improve comprehension during reading, children should be able to visualize what they are reading. Consistent research has proven that the construction of representational images improves children’s learning of text. In this lesson, students will learn how and practice using mental images as they read.

· Classroom set of The Bridge To Terabithia by: Katherine Patterson
· Handout with poem Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening By: Robert Frost
· White Paper
· Crayons
· Markers

1.) Explain to students why visualization is so important. “Visualization is what you do when you form pictures in your mind whil

e reading.” “It is very important that we draw pictures in our heads while read. If we do this, we are more likely to remember what we read.”
2.) Review silent reading. “When we read silently, we can read fast through the unimportant parts, but we have to slow down to read the parts that we know are important. This is what you use to remember details that are important to put into your mental image.”
3.) Model visualization. “It can be really fun to read books that don’t have any pictures in it, because I can imagine anything I want and not depend on an illustrator to tell me what it looks like.” “There are many times that I will read a book, and then go see the movie, and I am very disappointed because I made the book so much better in my head than the movie did.” Okay, let’s all try to visualize what the sentence I read looks like in our head. “I want everyone to close their eyes and listen to this sentence. Visualize what you think this looks like. “Johnny went fishing at the lake on a beautiful, sunny day.” Draw a picture on the board. “This is what I saw in my head as read that sentence” Have a quick discussion about what they saw. “It is okay that everyone saw something different, which is what makes this so great. You and I won’t see the same thing in our heads, because we all get something different from reading.”
4.) Pass out the Robert Frost poem to each student. “I am going to read you the first part of this poem and I want you to close your eyes and then I want you to use the paper and crayons in front of you to draw what you see.” After each student draws their picture, have them show it to the class and remind them that it is good that everyone’s is different. Continue reading the rest of the poem to the students, while they have their eyes closed and are visualizing. Stop after every paragraph to talk about what they see in their mind.
5.) Explain to the students that it is important that stop reading while they create mental images. “You only need to read a couple of sentences silently, then you stop and create and image in you head and then you can go on to another small section of your reading.”
6.) Pass out The Bridge to Terabithia to each student. “I want all of us to read the first chapter of this book silently. That means that we don’t say a word or even move or mouths as we read. I want you to read a passage and then close your eyes and think about what you see. Continue through the chapter.”
7.) Assessment. I will walk around the room and stop each student during their reading and ask them to describe the picture they have in their head about what they just read.

Pressley, Michael, et al. “Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text.” The Elementary School Journal 90.1 (1989). 3-32
Frost, Robert. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.
Patterson, Katherine. The Bridge to Terabithia.  Harper Trophy, NY.

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