Picture It!

Design for Reading to Learn

Kimberly Bosarge


Rationale:  Comprehension is the most important goal of reading instruction.  Furthermore, research indicates that individuals who construct mental images as they read are more likely to comprehend text.  In this lesson, students will learn and practice constructing mental images as they read.



Classroom set of The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Copies of A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson (first three stanzas).

White Paper






#1 – Review silent reading.  "Does everyone remember what silent reading is?  Right!  It is when you read words without making a sound."  Write Reading silently helps me read faster on the board.  "First, let’s practice reading this together out loud.  Good.  Now let’s practice reading it silently.  Great Job!  I didn’t hear a sound!" 

#2 – "Now that I know you can all read silently, we are going to try something new.  I would like to read you a few lines from the poem A Light Exists in Spring.  Read first stanza of poem.  "As I read these lines, I made a picture in my mind.  I saw a beautiful spring day.  The sky was blue, there were colorful flowers, and the sun was shinning.  This is called visualization.  Now it is your turn to try!  As I read the next few lines, I would like you to picture or visualize what I am reading in your mind."  Read next stanza of poem and allow several students to describe their visualizations.

#3 – Pass out the poem to each student.  Have students practice visualizing as they read the third stanza of the poem silently to themselves.  Allow several students to describe their visualizations.  

#4 – Pass out The Indian in the Cupboard.  "I would like all of us to silently read the first chapter of this book.  As you read, stop and take a moment to create a picture of what you are reading in your mind. 

#5 – After reading the first chapter, the class will discuss their visualizations with one another. 


Assessment:  The students will be instructed to silently read the next chapter of the book.  After reading, they will create a drawing of their visualization.  I will use the following checklist to determine whether each student used the visualization strategy to improve his or her comprehension:



 □ The student can describe their visualization.
□ The drawing represents ideas/events from the story.

□ The student demonstrates comprehension of the story.


Banks, Lynne Reid.  (1982).  The Indian in the Cupboard.  Harper Trophy:  New York  

Dickinson, Emily. (1955).  "A light exists in spring."  

Acuff, Kristin.  "Open the Doors to Imagination."

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