Sketch Your Imagination!

Margaret Pettey

Child_drawing.gif - (5K)

Rationale:  Consistent evidence shows that children who visualize while they read can better comprehend the text.  Creating mental pictures facilitates reading comprehension and moves children to a more independent and skilled level of understanding.



Book:  Three passages from My Side of the Mountain. Sample pages:  3-10. (description of his tree house) 

Drawing paper




Note:  Pick a story that you have been reading to the class so that the students have some background knowledge of what is going on.  Any book can be used for this activity.


1.  Today we are going to do an activity that really tests out imagination while we are reading.  As a class, we have started to read My Side of the Mountain, and we have come to the point where Sam has started to make his home in the hollowed out tree.  First, I am going to read a short passage at the beginning of the book to show you how I visualize the book as I am reading. (Teacher reads short passage and sketches what he/she thinks the event(s) might have looked like). 

It is important for the students to know that skilled readers pay attention to important detail, and don’t dwell on insignificant points in a story.  By reading a certain passage in this book, students will have a chance to pull out the important parts and build a visualization of what is going on. 

When I was reading my passage, I had a lot of things going on in my mind.  I paid close attention to the details so I easily remember them.  This is a great strategy when you are reading other books, as well.  By imagining the events in your mind, it is easier to remember them. I am going to draw what was going on in my mind to show you

Let’s start off by reading the first paragraph on page 3.  Write or sketch anything that comes into your thoughts.  What were some of the things you wrote down or drew?


2.  Now, I am going to pass out some paper and crayons and a short passage from out book.  Let’s remember how to read silently; start off with only a whisper while reading.  Once you have established a whisper try and say the words without any sound.  Finally, try and read using only your mind and not your mouth.  As you are reading silently, pay attention to the details you really want to remember in the story.  You have a number at the top of the passage that I want you to put in the corner of your paper as well, so I know which part of the story you read.  When you have finished reading the story, I want you to sketch something important that really stuck out in the passage.  You have 20 minutes to finish up reading and drawing. Let’s get started!

Students should receive one of three different passages from the book (all in the same chapter) so the teacher can get a better idea of independent points of view, rather than everyone drawing the same thing.


3.  When the students are finished reading, choose one or two of the passages and let a few of the corresponding students share what they drew.  Afterwards, collect the drawings to make sure each of the children comprehended the main points in the passage.

Furthermore, remind students that this is a great way to help them remember important points in other books as well.  Introduce this strategy during History lessons as well with non-fiction text.




My Side of the Mountain  by Jean Craighead George.  1959, 1988.  Dutton Children’s books/ Penguin Young Readers Group.


Reading Genie Website: Ashley Dulaney  “Sketch It to Stretch It!”


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