How to see with your eyes closed

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

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