I See a Bed Head

Reading to Learn

Ashley Jacobs



Comprehension is an essential component of reading.  Students must be able to understand what they are reading.  One strategy that readers can use to increase comprehension is representational imagery, also known as visualization.  When the students read, they must visualize in their heads what is happening in the story.  This lesson will help students develop their visualization skills and will give them practice through visualizing the events in a poem and a book.  The students will also draw their visualizations. 



Class set of The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

White Paper

Colored pencils



A book from the library for each student

Assessment checklist for each student (see below)

Chart paper with this poem written on it:

Bed Head

By: Kenn Nesbitt

I can't do a thing with my hair-do.

I've tried but it's simply no use.

I can't make it stay where I put it today

with styling gel, hair spray, or mousse.

No bobby pin, brush, or bandanna,

can get my hair under control.

I've tried every comb, every clip in my home,

and covered my head with a bowl.


I've tried using forks in frustration.

I've tried using pokers and picks.

I've tried using straps; I've tried headbands and caps.

I've even tried shoestrings and sticks.


Regardless of how I attack it,

I simply cannot make it stay.

I guess I can't win, so I'll have to give in

and look like my students today.


1)     "Today we are going to learn a trick that will help us remember what we read.  Before we do that though, I want us to review what silent reading is.  Everyone take out your library book.  First, I want everyone to read one sentence from your book out loud."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Did you notice how it was hard to concentrate on what you were reading because everyone else was reading out loud at the same time?  Now I want everyone to read another sentence, but this time I want you to whisper it to yourself."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Now I want everyone to read another sentence, but this time I want you to read it to yourself without moving your lips.  Read it to yourself inside your head."  Allow time for students to read a sentence.  "Were you able to understand what you read easier that time?  It was probably because it was a lot quieter in here and so you could concentrate."

2)     "Now I want us to talk about that special trick that I mentioned that can help you remember what you read.  It is called visualization.  Visualization is when you picture in your head what is happening in the book that you are reading.  It's very important to learn to do this because if you can't remember what you read, then you won't understand what is going on in the story or learn new things."

3)     "Now it's time to practice visualizing.  We are going to read a poem, and while we read the poem, I want you to picture in your head what is happening throughout the poem."  Read the "Bed Head" poem.  "As I read this poem, this is what I pictured in my head: I see a girl standing in the bathroom trying to fix her hair.  First she uses some hair spray and gel, but there are still pieces of hair sticking out.  I see her trying to use a use a brush and a comb and putting bobby pins and clips in her hair.  I then see her being so desperate and frustrated that she just puts a bowl on her head.  I can see her face, which is wrinkled up with frustration.  I see forks, picks, and sticks sticking out from her hair and her hair looks terribly.  My picture of this girl then changes because I realize that she is actually a teacher and not a younger girl."  Then allow each of the students to share what they visualized as they read the poem.

4)     "Now I am going to give each of you a book called The Boxcar Children.  The Boxcar Children is about four children named Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny who have no where to live.  They meet a lady who says they can stay with her for a while, but then they overhear her saying that they were going to send the youngest to the Children's Home.  The children decide to run away.  What will happen to the children?  You must read The Boxcar Children in order to find out.  In order to start to find out what happens, today I want you to read the first chapter silently, then I want you to draw your visualizations on some white paper.  You should write a few sentences at the bottom to tell about what you draw.  After everyone is finished, we will share our drawings with one another and compare and contrast them to make sure that your visualizations included all of the characters and the events in the story.  Over the next few weeks we will be drawing our visualizations for each chapter of this book so that we will have something to remind of the events of this story."  Give the students the books and allow them time to read the chapter, draw their visualizations, and share their drawings.

5)     Assessment: I will assess the students by looking at their drawings.  I will use the following checklist:

Student's illustration accurately reflects a passage from the chapter.

Student pays attention to detail.

Student statement has a clear correlation between the statement and the illustration that pertain to a passage within the chapter.

Student includes each of the characters from the chapter in his/her illustration.


Anderson, K. (2006). Picture This! Reading to learn design. Auburn University Reading   Genie Website: Retrieved November 19, 2007.  

Nesbitt, K. (2007). "Bed Head." Retrieved November 19, 2007. http://www.poetry4kids.com/poem-351.html

Warner, G. C. (1977). The Boxcar Children. Niles, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company.


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