Making Mind Movies

Coley Duke

Reading to Learn


RATIONALE:  Because independence and comprehension are the goals of reading, it is important that students learn strategies that help to improve these two goals.  Visualization is an important strategy, especially in narrative text, that helps students monitor their comprehension by imagining the text.  By imagining the text, the students may better understand what is happening in the story, leading to a greater comprehension.


MATERIALS:  any children’s book (for review), plain paper for drawing, markers/crayons, Kenn Nesbit poem entitled “Talented Family”, Sarah Plain and Tall, chart/board space for what they visualized (various things)


PROCEDURE: Review what we do as good silent readers during DEAR time.  “Before we get to our next lesson, let’s remember that when we read silently, we start by whispering the words to ourselves.  Then, our lips stop moving, but we keep reading.”  Watch as I practice: (Begin reading/modeling any children’s book in a whisper, then keep reading silently.)  “Now, it’s DEAR time and I want to see everyone practicing our new silent reading skills.”  (children read silently, then new lesson on visualization will begin.)

1.      “Now we are going to learn another reading strategy that will help us to become better readers.  I want everyone to close their eyes for a second.  Eyes all closed?  Okay. Now, I want for each of you to pretend that it is Saturday morning and you just woke up.  Your parents say that it is your day to do whatever you wish.  You decide to go to the zoo.  You drive up to the zoo and walk through the gates.  You go to see your favorite animal.  Now, don’t say anything, but just think about what the animal looks like-what color is it?  How big is it?  How many are in the cage?” “Now everyone open your eyes.  Model/explain to the kids what you saw-“I saw two brown monkeys with really big lips.  One was rubbing his belly…” “What we just did is known as visualization.  Visualization is something that can help you to better understand thing that you hear or read because you imagine it.” 

2.      Now, we are going to try visualization, or making movies in our minds, when we read.  I am going to read you a poem, and as I read it, I want you to make pictures in your mind about what is happening.  (Read “Talented Family” poem).

3.      Students will then share what they imagined while reading the poem in small groups (2-3 people).  As a group, they will each pick one thing different that they imagined from another person in the group.  The class will then come together and share what their group visualized, or made mind pictures with.  (Chart some of the various things people imagined- colors, people, reactions).  Ask the question, “Can you imagine reading this poem without imagining each member of the family doing their talent?”

4.      “ A great thing about visualization is that we all might visualize, or make mind pictures, of different things, but none of them are wrong.  And, by making these mental pictures, we are really thinking about the text, which makes us remember it more and makes it more interesting!  That is why it is good to talk about things that we read as a class, because each of us might have a good and different idea that we can share with one another that will help understand better what we have read.”

5.      Pass out the book Sarah Plain and Tall.  Have students read along as you read Chapter 3, and tell them to “really make a movie in your mind about what is happening in the story.  After you have read the passage in class, pass out the drawing materials and allow the children to draw what they visualized.



ASSESSMENT:  The children’s drawing will be their assessment for this lesson.  They will then explain why they drew something in particular, and you can help remind them (draw them back to the part in the passage) that describes what they drew.

The following checklist is to monitor their comprehension and see if they used their visualizations to make a picture:


___ Colored a scene from the book

___  Scene was specific and required detail (for example: flowers drawn since it was Spring)



___  What time of year is it? (Spring)

___  What did Sarah give Caleb? (a shell)

___  What will Sarah miss in Maine? (the sea)



 MacLachlan, Patricia.  Sarah Plain and Tall.  New York: Harper Trophy, 1985.

Bracken, Rebecca.  Turn Reading into Watching a Movie.  

Nesbitt, Ken.  “Talented Family.”  The Aliens Have Landed.  Meadowbrook Press.  (no date).

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