Let Your Mind Be the Adventure!

by Susie R. Rogers

Reading to Learn Design: Visualization

7 November, 2011


Comprehension is a very important goal of reading, and visualization is a means of learning comprehension. Students need to learn to visualize text as they read. By doing so, they will paint a picture in their mind's eye of what is going on in the text. This is vital to reading and understanding because it helps students remember what they've read. This lesson will help students listen to and read stories while visualizing the text, thus comprehending the story.


Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Baronet Books: New York, New York. (Enough for each student to have their own copy)

Plain white paper for students' drawings

Crayons or colored pencils for students' assessments

Grading Rubric/checklist (Did the student draw a picture? Does the picture relate to Chapter 8? Does the picture relate to characters or setting? Is the picture interpretable? Does the picture display detail? Does the picture portray comprehension of the first chapter?)


1. Good morning, journeymen and journeywomen. Today we will be traveling further into the story of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to see how far he goes and what happens. Today we are traveling in our minds to an island, and each person will only have one satchel for everything they need. We will be far from Auburn, and can't ask our parents for help. We have to figure out how to survive with only a few tools. I want us to partner up and think about what tools we would need to survive alone on an island.

2. I am going to call on a few of you and I want you to tell me what tools you and your partner saw in your in your mind [Call on 2 or 3 students]. Sounds like you saw some different things. That's pretty interesting! Does anybody know what we call it when we picture things in our mind? (Students might say imagine, brainstorm, picture, dream, see, etc. Be sure that you let them know those answers are all correct, but visualization is a word that means the same thing).

3. Visualization is a very important thing that we do in our brains. When we hear things, we have this great ability to see things in our mind's eye. When I say, "There is a bowl of fruit on the table," in your head, you might visualize a wooden bowl with bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, and pears. Or you might visualize a ceramic bowl with only colorful mangoes. Visualizing is fun, because we get to use our imagination. When I visualize a fruit bowl, it doesn't look the same as the fruit bowl you visualize. That's the same in reading; we each have a different picture of the story going on than the next person.

4. Even though many times we all visualize things differently, visualizing can help us see more detail than we could on our own. Listen to this description of a fruit bowl: On the table there is sitting a red, oval, ceramic bowl. In the bowl there are bananas that are not yet ripe, some red grapes, and granny smith apples. Now, I bet everyone's visualizations are a little bit more similar.

5. Visualizations also help us organize thoughts in our mind before we do something, like finding something we need for school. If I asked Trayshon to go to my desk and get the blue coffee cup that says "World’s Best Teacher" on it, he would visualize that in his head before he went searching. When he gets to my desk, he will look for what he already visualized.

6. Now we know how important visualization is and how much fun it can be. Do you know that visualization can also help us be better readers? How do you think visualization might help us read stories better? [Allow a few students to answer.] That's right, when we read a sentence with a description, we can visualize it in our mind. When might visualizing be very important in a story? That's right, when we are read about the characters and setting. When I read the sentence "Tom was an adventuresome little boy, ragged around the edges," I visualize a short little boy with dirty blond hair that hasn't been washed in a while, wearing overalls that are ripped and rolled up on one leg. I bet that your visualizations were a little different.

7. Today, we are going to keep reading our book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This is a great book to practice our visualization, especially because we might encounter an island in this chapter. Pay close attention to all the details in this chapter because this will help you picture what is happening. I think some of you might find this chapter suspenseful, and this will also help you see things in your mind's eye. I would like us to partner read every other paragraph in Chapter 8. After we finish reading today, we will watch the movie tomorrow and see how our visualizations compare to the visualizations the directors had.

8. To finish today's talk about visualization, I want you to draw a picture to show me what you saw in your mind's eye while reading Chapter 8. You can draw characters, the setting, the island, or a specific scene as long as you use as much detail as you can. I should be able to look at your picture and tell you what part of the chapter you illustrated, and see how you visualized it in your mind.


Allow students roughly 25 minutes to read and 15 minutes to draw their pictures. The pictures will be turned in, and should be graded using the following guidelines as a checklist:

Did the student draw a picture?

Does the picture relate to Chapter 8?

Does the picture relate to characters, setting, or scene?

Is the picture interpretable?

Does the picture display detail?

Does the picture portray comprehension of Chapter 8


Grimes, Jeanine. "Picture It!" Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/grimesrl.html

Pressley, Michael. "Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text." The Elementary School Journal. Volume 90: 1. University of Western Ontario, 1989.

Tidwell, Casey. "The Adventures of Visualization." Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/explor/tidwellrl.html

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Baronet Books: New York, New York.

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