Picture It!

Learning to Summarize through Visualization
By: Leah B. Smith

In order for students to become successful readers, it is imperative that they develop comprehension strategies and construct meaning from the text that they are reading.  One of the most effective comprehension strategies available for students to use is visualization.  Visualization is a strategy that involves the reader constructing images inside their mind based on the text they are reading.  When readers visualize a text, they are able to devise a mental construct of the text, and thus make it more memorable and easy to understand.  In this lesson, students will learn to use visualization strategies to aid in their comprehension of the text.  They will practice constructing these visualizations while reading, and then will convey what they have learned through illustrations (their visualizations) and explanations of the text.

-Drawing Paper
-Colored pencils, Crayons, and Markers
-Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (individual copies for each student)
-Checklist for assessment

Could the student answer the following questions?



What did the fountain of youth look like?



How did Winnie meet the Tucks?


What was special about the water?

-Copy of the poem Food Fight by Kenn Nesbitt
-Copy of the poem I'm Staying Home from school today by Kenn Nesbitt (individual copies for each student)
-Dry erase board (for teacher use)
-Dry erase markers (for teacher use)

1.  I will begin this lesson today by explaining to my students the importance of comprehension in reading.  Today, we are going to be working on something that is a very important part of becoming a skillful read... comprehension!  Does anyone remember what comprehension means?  Right, it means being able to understand and make sense of what you have read, but sometimes this is really hard to do, especially if there are no pictures or clues to help us better understand the text.  But, that's ok because there are comprehension strategies that we can use to help us better understand our text.
2.  Explain to the students the concept of visualization.  One of the most useful comprehension strategies that we can use is the process of visualization.  Visualization is being able to construct pictures in your head about what your reading, even when there are no actual illustrations in your book. Why don't we give it a try?
3.  Model the concept of visualization to the students.  I'm going to read the poem Food Fight by Ken Nesbitt, and while I read, I am going to try to create images in my head that help me better understand the story.  Read poem to students.  Ok, as I read, I pictured a very messy lunchroom with all the teachers and students standing up in the middle of all that mess.  There was food everywhere!  It was on the wall, the floor, the tables, and even on people!  Now, I'm actually going to draw this picture on the board so you can see what I was visualizing in my head as I read this poem. Draw picture on board that depicts the scene that I described.  Is this similar to what everyone else pictured in their minds?  Ok...  Great!  Now, I'm going to let you give it a try!
4.  Give each student a copy of the poem I'm Staying Home from School Today by Kenn Nesbitt.  Let's read this poem together, and while we read it, I want you to try and visualize in your mind the events that are taking place.  Read poem aloud as a class.  Now pretend that you have to draw a picture of what you visualized in your head.  Does someone want to raise their hand and tell me what their illustration or visualization would look like?  Allow several students to share their visualizations with the class.  You are doing a great job using your visualization strategy to help you comprehend what you are reading, and because you are doing such a good job, I think it is time that you put your visualization strategy to use as you read the first chapter of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Hobbitt.
5.  Pass out books to students and give book talk.  Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Winnie who was very, very curious.  One day, she wandered out of her yard and into the woods behind her house where she came upon a certain family- The Tuck's.  The Tucks were very special people because they drank from the fountain of youth and were guaranteed to live forever!  But... to Winnie's surprise, she was KIDNAPPED by these kind people!  I wonder what will happen to her?  Will she drink from the fountain of youth, too?  Looks like you'll have to read to find out!  Now, I want you to read Chapter one of the book silently to yourselves, and while you are reading, use your visualization strategy to help you comprehend what you have read.  When you finish reading that chapter, take out your drawing paper and make an illustration of what you visualized in your head.  You may use your colored pencils and crayons to add detail to your illustration.  After you complete your drawing, write a short statement describing what you have illustrated and how it represents the text you were visualizing.


I will assess my students using the illustrations and statements they constructed concerning the text that they read.  In addition, the comprehension checklist will be used for assessment.


Read It, Picture It! by Amy Lewis

Nesbitt, Kenn.  Food Fight!

Nesbitt, Kenn.  I'm Staying Home from school today

Babbitt, Natalie.  Tuck Everlasting.  Sunburst, 1975.

Return to Encounters Index