Painting a Picture

Reading to Learn

By: Timberly Farley


It is very important for children to comprehend text as they read so they can eventually become expert readers.  Visualization is a very important tool that readers can use for comprehension.  If students are able to visualize what they are reading, then they will be able to understand what is happening in the story.  Visualization can also help readers to become more excited and engaged in the book.  This lesson will help students to visualize what they are reading by creating their own mental images.  We will be practicing visualization today with different readings and strive to be better readers.



Poster with this sentence written on it  -  I sat in the sand under my pink umbrella and watched the high waves roll in.

Blank Paper – for the students to draw what they visualize


Poster with the poem My Little Sister written on it

Copies of the poem Food Fight to hand out to all the students

Assessment Checklist

Comprehension Questions



Is the picture about the poem?



Does the picture show comprehension of poem?



Does the picture include some details from the poem?



Can you interpret the picture?



Can the student describe to you what is going on in the picture about the poem?





1. Say:  "Today we are going to practice visualizing what we read.  Does anyone know what visualize means?"

[Discuss with the children the meaning, possibly giving hints such as the word vision or see]

Say: "Great job! It is when you see something, but only in your mind.  Today we are going to learn about visualization and how it helps us comprehend what we read. When we create pictures in our heads about what we read, we are more likely to remember what we read and understand it better."


2.  Model visualization for the students.

Say: "I am going to read this sentence and show you how I would visualize.

I sat in the sand under my pink umbrella and watched the high waves roll in. 

 Say: "What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read this sentence?  When I read this sentence this is what I picture in my head (draw it on the board as you explain your thought process). First I'm going to draw me sitting on a beach. Then I am going to draw my umbrella over me, and I'm going to make sure to draw the umbrella pink. What else is there?  Next I'm also going to draw the big waves that are rolling in. I can also picture in my head a beautiful sunny day, with a bright blue sky. Each of you probably pictured the scene a little differently in your head, because each one of us is unique. It is just important that you make some type of picture in your mind to help you understand and remember what you are reading."


 3. Say: “Now for some more practice, we are going to read this short poem together and talk about ways we can visualize it.”

 [*Point to Poster on the board and read to the class My Little Sister by William Wise*]

My Little Sister

by William Wise


My little sister

Like to eat

But when she does

She's not too neat

The trouble is

She doesn't know

Exactly where

The food should go!


Say: “What are some ways you visualized this in your head?”

[Allow students to share ideas and to describe the way they saw this poem.]

[Tell the students some of the ways you envisioned this story. Things like food on the child forehead and clothes. The room being messy with food splattered everywhere.]

Say: “That's very good! Visualizing stories can be fun!


 4. [Pass out copies of the poem Food Fight by Ken Nesbitt.] 

[Review Vocabulary]

Say: “Let's discuss on of the vocabulary words that we are going to see in the poem. Does anyone know what feud means?”

Feud – a disagreement about something.

Say: “So when two people are fighting/arguing they are feuding. Listen to this sample sentence – Susan broke my favorite toy, so now I am not friends with her. We are in a feud.”

Say: “Now I want you to thin of a sentence, or situation where a feud would take place.”

[Allow students to share their ideas or sentences]

Say: “Great Job! I think you all really caught the meaning of a feud.”

 Say: “Now that we have had talked about our vocabulary and we have had some practice, I want you to read it this poem silently to yourself.  After you have finished reading draw what you visualized on the piece of paper I gave you.”


5. Have the children share with the class their drawing.  Ask them to describe it and tell why they chose certain aspects (colors, size, time of day, etc.)



Use the student's drawings to assess whether the children visualized what they read.  I will use the assessment checklist to assess the drawings.  Individually I will ask the children a few comprehension questions to ensure they understand the text.  For example, "What is the boy in the poem doing?"  "How does he feel?"



 Williams, Brittany. In Your Imagination.


Nesbitt, Kenn. Food Fight.


Wise, William. My Little Sister.


Return to Doorways Index