Picture it!
Andrea Williams
Reading to Learn

Rationale: When children enter third and fourth grades they should have mastered the skills necessary for reading quickly, automatically, and expressively.  Books in these grades do not have illustrations to accompany the text.  Students are used to seeing their ideas come alive in pictures.  Therefore, when students find that the new books they are reading do not have pictures, students often become frustrated.  When skillful readers read, they automatically create images in their heads.  Young children usually do this too, although they may not realize it.  This visualization process helps students comprehend text.  Research shows that visualization helps children’s comprehension, satisfaction, and learning.  This exercise will help children recognize their own visualization process and how to use it to benefit their reading.

Materials: 30 copies of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, writing journals, crayons, pencils, and checklist for teacher (one for each student)

1. Review silent reading.  Does everyone remember what silent reading is?  Silent reading is when you read without saying the words out loud.  Instead, you say them in your head.  It is important so to read silently.  If everyone just to read out loud, no one would be able to pay attention to what they were reading!  Everybody would be very confused!  When you read silently do you ever make a picture in your brain?  Well, today we are going to talk about making pictures in our brains.
2. I bet when you were little you read books with pictures in them. Now that you are older, you read books without pictures!  I bet you still draw pictures in your heads, though!  I know I do!  If you close your eyes you can see pictures in your mind; this is called visualization.  Visualization helps us remember what we read.  Let's play a game.  I want everyone to close their eyes and visualize, or picture, this in your mind: (the teacher will read an excerpt from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud).  Can anyone tell me what they saw in their mind as I read to you?
3. Now I want you to keep your eyes open while I read another passage.  The teacher will read another excerpt from the book.  Did anyone notice any difference in what they saw in their minds from when you closed your eyes and listened?  I would like a volunteer to share with the rest of the class what he or she visualized with his or her eyes open as I read aloud to you?
4. When you read chapter books without any pictures, this is what you have to do to remember what you read.  When you visualize the story in your mind as you read, you can comprehend the story better.  If it helps you to close your eyes to visualize the story, then you can take a break at the end of each chapter in a book to visualize what you have just read.
5. We are going to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  The teacher will give a book talk to get the students interested in the story and pass out copies to each student.  "If everyone has a book, I want each of you to read the first page silently.  Don't forget to visualize what you are reading!
6. Can anyone describe what pictures were in his or her head while reading?  The teacher can do this exercise a number of times with the students if she desires.  Following each exercise, the students should share their mental images with the rest of the class.
7. Now it is time to read silently.  Remember, when we read silently, we don't say the words out loud.   We say them to ourselves.  I want everyone to read the next chapter of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
8. After everyone has finished, we are going to do a fun activity that focuses on imagery.  Imagery is creating a picture using very descriptive words.  I want everyone to write down your favorite line of imagery in the chapter.  Be sure to mark the page number beside your sentence.  I want five volunteers to come up and read their sentences.  While they are reading, I want the rest of the class to sit with their eyes closed and listen to the descriptive words of the sentences.  See what kind of pictures your mind makes!

Assessment: The students will read (silently) the next chapter in the book.  They will create illustrations of what they pictured as they read that chapter.  The teacher will go around the room and look at the children's pictures.  The teacher should make sure that the students give the page number.  The teacher must make sure that the students have grasped the idea of the story and how to use visualization while reading.  A checklist, like the one below, may be used.

1. The illustration reflects excerpt from book.
2. Child can describe what he/she visualizes when reading.
3. Child comprehends what he/she has read by telling me.

1. C.S. Lewis. (1998). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

2. McClellan, Jennifer. "What do You See?"

3. Acuff, Kristin.  “Open the Doors to Imagination.”

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