Children need to be able to comprehend what they read. An important step in comprehension is to gain a deep meaning of the text by visualization. Teaching students to “see” pictures in their head of the action and events occurring on paper in the books and stories they read will enable them to gain deeper meanings and to think more abstractly and creatively.
-The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
-Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting
-crayons and/or markers
1. Review the concept of silent reading. Ask, "Does anyone remember the steps to reading silently?" Be sure children remember that it is when they read a story to themselves and no one else can hear it. It is okay to move your lips but no sounds should come out when you are reading silently.
2. Next, ask,"Has anyone ever read a story silently and seen a picture of what was happening in your head? If you have then you were visualizing an event." Explain that visualization becomes more and more important the older you get—that is why most adult novels do not have pictures, unlike many of the picture books they read as smaller children.
3. "Now, I am going to read a poem for you. I want you to close your eyes while I read and try to make a picutre in your head that relates to what I am reading." Read a poem with a lot of imagery like “The Wind” by James Reeves.
4. Ask the students to think about the qualities that the wind possesses. They can refer back to the poem if needed. Explain the concept of getting “through a doorway without any key.” "Does anybody think that they could get through a doorway like that? Of course not, only the wind and air can because they can move through small spaces.
5. Continue to pick apart the poem and encourage students to “see” the lines of the poem it like “strip the leaves from the great oak tree,” “steal through a garden and not wake the flowers,” “seas I can move and ships I can sink,” or “lie quiet as quiet.” Ask students to explain the images that they saw in their heads as the poem was read. After the children talk about their pictures say, "That is great! You are all learning how to visualize and this is going to make reading more meaningful and exciting."
6. "Now we are going to read a passage from Tuck Everlasting. Everyone turn to page 60 and read the first two sentences of chapter 12 to yourselves silently." Now, have the children take out paper and markers or crayons and draw what they think the sky and sun looked like. Have students compare share and compare drawings with one another.
7. For assessment I would break the children down into small groups and give them several pages pre-selected pages to reread, perhaps even an entire chapter and ask them to discuss the pictures they visualized while reading it. I would sit in on each group’s discussion and question and comment as needed to ensure that the children were able to comprehend and visualize effectively. I would also use a checklist to monitor what the students were visualizing. Did they mention the appearance of characters, setting, feelings/emotions, or the actions? Using a checklist with this items would be helpful.
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. Sunburst.
Lesson by Lindsey Long "Imagine This." http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/chall/longrl.html
Prelutsky, Jack. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A Treasury of 572 Poems for Today’s Child. 1983.
Pressley, M., Johnson, C., Symons, McGoldrick, J.A. and Kurity, J.A. Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text. 1989. pp.9-10.
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