Rationale: When children enter the upper elementary school grades they should have mastered the skills necessary for reading automatically and effortlessly. Since the books in these upper grades do not have illustrations to accompany their reading, and they are used to seeing their ideas come alive in pictures, students may become frustrated. Usually, though, when they are reading they cannot help, but form some kind of picture in their minds of what they are reading. Kids may not realize that they are doing this, but this "visualization" helps them to read. Research shows that visualization helps childrenís comprehension, enjoyment, and learning in their readings. This exercise will help children recognize their own visualization and they will learn how to use it to benefit them in reading.
Materials: 30 copies of C.S. Lewisís The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, drawing paper, crayons, pencils, and markers
1. "Remember when you were younger and all of your books had nice pictures for you. These pictures may have made your books more fun to read, right?" Now get studentís feedback on this.
2. "Well just because you are older, and your books may not have pictures in them, does not mean that you cannot "see" what is going on in our stories. Today we will learn how to use "visualization." Visualization is something that you may not be aware that you are doing, but it is when you form pictures in your imaginations when you read stories. Visualization can help you in many ways. It makes you understand and remember what you read better, and, most importantly it can make your reading more interesting and fun, because you are the picture maker."
3. "Let's try a little visualization. I am going to read a passage out of the book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and I want you to close your eyes and try to make a picture of what I describe in your mind." Now read a passage out of the book that is very descriptive. Then ask the students to verbally tell you about the picture they created in their minds.
4. "Now it is time for us to read silently. Remember, that when we read silently, we don't say the words out loud, we say them to ourselves only in our mind. So, I want everyone to read the next chapter of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Assesment: When the students are finished with their silent reading time have them "create illustrations of what is in their mind on paper." Now look at all of the children's pictures(ask what pages their ideas came from), and be sure that they did grasp the idea of the story and how to use visualization in their reading.
References: www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/killianrl.html "Who Needs Illustrations?"
Pressley, M., Johnson, C., Symons, McGoldrick, J.A. and Kurity, J.A.
Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
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