How to see with your eyes closed


Reading to Learn Design
Mareena Kohtala

 

Rationale

 

Visualization is creating an image in your head. It is important to visualize as you are reading to maintain comprehension. When something does not fit into the visual you have then you know that you did not comprehend something right. Since most books include fewer and fewer illustrations as children age, it is important to visualize to maintain comprehension. In picture books, it is easy for children to understand the story because of the illustrations. Getting students to make their own pictures early will help them maintain understanding through longer non-illustrated texts.

 

Materials

 

Copy of Hatchet for each student, copy of “Daddy Fell into the Pond” poem, paper, crayons, checklist of questions:     

1. Did the student read silently?
2. Did the student draw a picture?
3. Did the picture represent something that happened only in the first chapter?
4. Are the images or events in the picture accurate?
5. Did the student draw or describe in detail the events? (let students describe if some can’t draw as well, do not grade the level of the art work)

 

Procedures

 

1. “I am going to say a word, and I want you to tell me what the first thing you think of. If you want to close your eyes, feel free. Paris” Ask students one at a time what they were thinking about. If no one mentions visual images, ask : “Did anyone see the Eiffel Tower in their head? Did anyone picture people eating French bread?” Getting that picture in your head is called visualization. When we think about things it helps us remember if we can create an image in our minds. Let’s all think about the perfect day at the beach. Picture what the weather will be like. Is it hot? Is it calm, or is there a slight breeze? Is the water warm? What is the sand like? Are there a lot of people there or just you? Share with your friend your perfect beach day.

2. Now I am going to read the poem, “Daddy Fell Into the Pond” by Alfred Noyes (http://www.poetry-online.org/noyes_daddy_fell_into_the_pond.htm) While I am reading, I want you to visualize what is happening. It may help to close your eyes to visualize better. Think about the characters and what they may look like. Think about what is happened, what must just have happened and what will happen. Think about what is around the scene. Then I want you to share with your group what you thought about. Have students share their mental images within their groups and talk about the similarities and differences.

3. Now we are going to start reading our next novel, “Hatchet.” Hatchet is the story of a thirteen-year-old boy named Brian that is flying out to see his dad. He is flying alone with the pilot in a small plane in northern Canada. When the plane crashes, Brian is stuck in the wilderness alone.

4. Who remembers what reading silently means. Yes, you read silently to yourself. Do not read out loud. I should not hear anyone as you read. Read the first chapter silently. Visualize the plane and the things Brian describe. You are going to be very tempted to read on but before you do I want you to draw what you visualized in the first chapter. When everyone is finished we will share our drawings. Have each student present their drawing one at a time. Use the attached checklist to assess comprehension and visualization. As a class discuss the differences in the pictures drawn. If for some reason every single student draws the exact same thing, then scaffold by providing some images you thought about: the small plane, a sweaty smelly man probably over weight, deep woods and clouds.

Assessment

Use the following criteria to check for comprehension and visualization:
1. Did the student read silently?
2. Did the student draw a picture?
3. Did the picture represent something that happened only in the first chapter?
4. Are the images or events in the picture accurate?
5. Did the student draw or describe in detail the events? (let students describe if some can’t draw as well, do not grade the level of the art work)

Reference

 

Tidwell, Casey. “The Adventures of Visualization.” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/explor/tidwellrl.html

 

Noyes, Alfred. “Daddy Fell into the Pond.” http://www.poetry-online.org/noyes_daddy_fell_into_the_pond.htm

 

Paulse, Gary. Hatchet. Simon Pulse Paperbacks: New York, New York.

 

Click here to return to Connections.