Close your eyes, it’s time to read!

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Kari Beth Freeman



Rationale:

To learn to read and spell words, students must not only learn that letters are symbols that stand for phonemes, or vocal gestures, but also use their knowledge of those letter sound relationships to decode and recognize words. However, this is simply the beginning.  In order to read fluently, students have to recognize words effortlessly and automatically. Once students gain fluency, they can begin developing an understanding of what they read, or comprehending text.  Comprehension is the essential goal of reading.  One strategy that research has proved effective in developing reading comprehension is visualization. Visualization is creating an image in your head that illustrates what is going on in the text. In this lesson, the students will learn to use their imagination to create mental pictures as they read a short poem as well as a chapter book.

Materials:
 -Class set of the short poem by Alfred Noyes, “Daddy Fell into the Pond.” http://www.poetry-online.org/noyes_daddy_fell_into_the_pond.htm

-Overhead slide or poster with the text of “Daddy Fell into the Pond.”
-Class set of Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.  NY:  HarperCollins, 1985.

-White construction paper

-Assessment rubric for every student:

1. Did the student read silently?

     /5

2. Did the student describe three visualizations they had in chapter 1?

 

     /5

3. Did the student draw a picture?

     /5

4. Are the images or events in the picture accurate?

 

     /5

5. Did the student draw and describe in detail the events of the chapter?

 

     /5

6. Did the student share their visualizations with the group?

 

     /5

Procedures:

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining the importance of fluent reading, “Today we are going to practice visualizing pictures in our heads while we read.  When readers read stories or books, they picture the characters, setting, dialogue, and many other things very clearly in their heads. It is as if readers paint mental pictures in their heads of the stories that they read. This is what we call visualization.  Visualization helps us remember what we read and improves our reading comprehension.  We are going to practice painting mental pictures of what we read in our heads today in this lesson.”

2. “I want you to close your eyes.  I am going to say a word, and I want you to tell me the very first thing that comes to your mind.  When you have got a picture in your head, raise your hand and I will call on you to share what you are visualizing. ‘Beach.’ What sorts of things came to your head? Hot weather? Sand? Ocean? Bathing suits? 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.” After introducing the concept of visualization, I will review how to read text silently.

3.  Review the strategies good readers use when they read silently. “Today when we read our text, we will be reading silently. What does it means to read silently?  That’s right.  You read the words in your mind instead of out loud.  Is anyone supposed to hear you when you are reading out loud?  No, because you are reading the words in your head.  Today, when we are reading silently, we aren’t simply reading the words in our head.  We are also going to try to create mental pictures of what is going on in the story or poem. As you read, I not only want you to concentrate on reading the words correctly, but actually ‘see’ the story in your mind like a movie. By using our imagination and picturing what’s happening in the story, we are able to better understand the story. ” 

4.  I will model how to use the visualization strategy when reading text. Using either a document camera or simply a poster with the words written on it, display the poem by Alfred Noyes, “Daddy Fell into the Pond.” I will read the first stanza out loud and describe the images I created in my head while reading. “I am going to show you how to visualize text as you read.  I am going to read the first stanza of this humerous poem. Then, I will describe to you the mental pictures I created while reading this stanza. I want you to create your own mental pictures of what is going on in this poem. It might help to visualize the poem if you closed your eyes. ‘Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey. / We had nothing to do and nothing to say. / We were nearing the end of a dismal day, / And then there seemed to be nothing beyond, / Then/ Daddy fell into the pond!’ I’m picturing a dark grey sky.  It looks like it is about to rain, and it the air feels heavy and warm.  I’m picturing two people sitting on a porch thinking about what to do next. They have bored looks on their faces. Then, all of a sudden, something breaks the boredom. A large man falls head over heels into a glossy, calm pond.  His arms are flailing in the air and his land makes a HUGE splash! What sorts of things did you picture in your heads while reading that stanza? Good!”

5.  Guided Practice: “I want you to read the next two stanzas silently to yourself.  After you are finished, share your visualizations with a partner. Talk about what was different about you and your partner’s visualizations and what was the same. When you are finished, I want you to share with the class the images that you discussed with your partner.

6. Activity: “You have had some practice now in creating mental pictures about what you read.  Now, we are going to begin a chapter book called Sarah Plain and Tall. (Book talk-Jacob lives on the prairie with his children, Anna and Caleb. His wife had died years before when Caleb was born. Jacob decides that the children need a new mother. But how do you find a wife when you live on the prairie in the 1800's? A common practice back then was to place an ad in the newspapers back east and find a mail order bride. This is just what Jacob decides to do. One lady, Sarah, who writes back is from Maine. She tells Jacob that she is quite tall and not very pretty. She's just plain and tall. They write several times and then he invites her to visit. She agrees and decides to spend the summer. The children come to love Sarah but Jacob is not very friendly. Sarah misses the ocean terribly. When Sarah goes to town by herself, Jacob and the children are afraid that she has decided to return to Maine. Jacob realizes how much he cares for her. Will he be able to tell Sarah or will she return to Maine?) I want you to read the first chapter silently.  After you are finished, I have a blank piece of white paper that I will give you.  I want you to describe three visualizations you had while reading the chapter.  I want you to pick one of the three and draw a detailed picture of what you saw in your mind while reading (used for assessment). When everyone is finished, I will put you into groups to discuss your visualizations and talk about the pictures they illustrated.  Does everyone understand what they are supposed to be doing? Great!”

7. Walk around and monitor the students while they are reading silently as well as while they are describing their visualizations.  When they are drawing their pictures ask the students, “Why did you choose this scene to draw.  What sorts of things did you visualize in this scene that made it easier for you to remember? Listen to each group when they are sharing their mental pictures with each other and give feedback as needed.”

Assessment:
-I will assess the students’ descriptions and illustrations using a rubric:

1. Did the student read silently?

     /5

2. Did the student describe three visualizations they had in chapter 1?

 

     /5

3. Did the student draw a picture?

     /5

4. Are the images or events in the picture accurate?

 

     /5

5. Did the student draw and describe in detail the events of the chapter?

 

     /5

6. Did the student share their visualizations with the group?

 

     /5

 -I will also provide students with a visualization that doesn’t make sense.  In order for them to determine what doesn’t make sense, they would have to correctly and vividly visualize what the text is saying. Here is the text: “There is no light at the bottom of the ocean. Fish find their food by its color.” Ask the students to picture what is going on as vividly as you can.  Write down what doesn’t make sense or what is wrong with this picture that you created of these two sentences.

Another visualization to use for assessment: "A woman is on a plane flying to Atlanta.  She says to her husband, 'Honey, isn't that a beautiful purple spotted fish?'"

Reference:
-Copenhaver, Liz. “Seeing is Understanding.” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/connect/copenhaverrl.html.

-MacLachlan, Patricia.  Sarah, Plain and Tall.  NY:  HarperCollins Publishers, 1985.

-Noyes, Alfred. “Daddy Fell into the Pond.” Updated: November 3, 2003, Viewed November 9, 2005. http://www.poetry-online.org/noyes_daddy_fell_into_the_pond.htm.


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