Read to see so many possibilities!
Reading to Learn
By Caroline Conner
Rationale: In order for children to become successful readers they have to be able to comprehend the things that they read. There are many important concepts that children can learn that will help them with comprehension, but the one that I want to focus on in this lesson is visualization. Visualization helps children recognize problems in a text that break down comprehension. Helping students to "see" what they are reading will help them to think about a text in a deeper and more meaningful way. By helping students to see certain actions and events that take place in a book or a text will give them the tools that they need to fully comprehend the story they are reading.
Materials: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children; Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah Plain and Tall; drawing paper; markers and crayons
1. First, I will have the students review the concept of silent reading. I will ask the students, "Does anyone remember the steps to reading silently?" Silent reading is when you read the text or book to yourself. You do not read the words aloud, but instead you simply read them in your head so no one else can hear you. Sometimes when readers are reading silently, they may move their mouth like they are reading aloud, but no sounds are actually coming from their mouth. It is just like normal reading but instead of reading aloud you read silently.
2. I will then ask, "Has anyone ever read a story silently? Do you ever think about a picture of what is happening while you are reading?" Sometimes we do this when we are reading chapters in a book or books with little pictures. We use the words in the text to help us visualize or see what is happening in the story. This skill is so important for fluent readers to use. It is called visualization. It is very important because it helps us as readers to comprehend the meaning of the texts. Visualization becomes more and more important the older you get because most books do not have any pictures, therefore, you as readers have to make your own pictures in your head to help you understand what is happening and what things look like.
3. Now I am going to show you how I visualize while I read. I am going to read a small passage and tell you what I picture.
Over grassy meadows
Beneath the clear blue sky
Through golden rays of sunlight
Drifts the lovely butterfly
She sways her slender body
As gentle as a breeze
Cheerful in her freedom flight
With pure and simple ease
Her beauty shimmers brightly
With colors all aglow
Feelings of peacefulness
Are only hers to know
Once a fuzzy creature
Without beauty and grace
She now flies so elegant
In all of time and space
"While I was reading that passage I pictured the most beautiful colorful butterfly that I have ever seen or could imagine. I pictured myself in a wide-open grassy meadow where sunlight streamed down from the sky, because there were no clouds to hide its light. I pictured a light breeze blowing around me lifting my hair and the butterfly up in the air. I finally pictured a place of quietness and peace, where time and space don't matter." Visualizing is also using your imagination. A lot of times things we read in books we might not have ever seen so we have to rely on descriptions and details that the authors give us in the texts.
4. Now I want you to try. I want you to close your eyes. I am going to read you a passage from Sarah Plain and Tall. I want you to imagine in your minds exactly what I am reading. Okay, now close your eyes. "There is wind here," said Caleb happily. "It blows the snow and brings tumbleweeds and makes the sheep run. Wind and wind and wind!" Caleb stood up and ran like the wind, and the sheep ran after him. Sarah and I watched him jump over rock and gullies, the sheep behind him, stiff legged and fast. He circled the field, the sun making the top of his hair golden. He collapsed next to Sarah, and the lambs pushed their wet noses into us." [From Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (HarperTrophy, 1987).]
5. "Now I want you to get out a piece of paper and crayons and I am going to read through the passage again, but this time I want you to draw the picture you are seeing in your head." Read passage again and give students time to draw a picture. "While I read I want you to focus on the setting and what is happening."
6. After students have drawn their picture have them share with a neighbor and give each other comments. Then have a few students share their drawings with the class. Now you are going to do a small vocabulary lesson. Choose a few words from the passages we just read or ones they are going to read to better help them understand what is going on. Explain to the students the importance of knowing what words mean in order to help you fully comprehend texts. Pick about six words and have their definitions on chart paper and talk about each one with the students. Then play a review game, such as jeopardy or something fun that will engage them with new words and their meanings.
7. "You are all doing a fantastic job visualizing. Now we are going to try with a chapter book. You are going to read the first chapter of Tuck Everlasting. This book is about a young girl named Winnie who finds herself lost in the woods one day. She comes across a peculiar tree that has water coming from it. She sees a boy drinking from it and wants some as well, but there's something she doesn't know that this boy Jesse Tuck and his family are trying to keep hidden. Will she drink from the tree, or stay lost in the woods? Let's read to find out!
8. "As you are reading the first chapter I want you to visualize what is happening. It's important that we are able to see the story in our minds in order to help us better comprehend what we are reading. I want you to focus on characters and their descriptions and the environment around them. What do you think it looks like?
9. After students read the first chapter, have them draw what they visualized as they read. Also have them write a short description of what they drew and why. Which will exhibit their comprehension skills.
10. For assessment I will look at the students drawings and descriptions of chapter one. Also I will Asses their discussion points during the lesson and drawings from the passages.
Prelutsky, Jack. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A Treasury of 572
Poems for Today's Child. 1983.
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. Harper Trophy. 1987.
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