Close Your Eyes and Imagine…


Reading to Learn

Allison McDonald



Children need to learn to visualize what they read so they can form mental images in their mind to help them with understanding the story.  Since the most important goal in reading is comprehension, children need to be able to visualize what they read so it will make sense.  As children read the book they will be able to construct mental images from the reading through visualization.



·        Book:  White, E.B. (1952).  Charlotte’s Web.  Harper & Row, Publishers:  New York. (class set)

·        Writing Journals (class set)

·        Pencils, crayons, markers

·        Checklist (for teacher)

o       Illustration reflects passage from book

o       Child can describe passage after reading

o       Child comprehends book by telling the class



1.  Review silent reading with the class, and ask “Is silent reading important?  Yes, because if everyone is reading out loud at the same time it is very hard to concentrate.  Now (teacher picks two students to come up with their books) I want the three of us to start reading our books out loud together.  Okay read.”  (Teacher and two students read books out loud at the same time)  After a few seconds say “stop.”  “Now could anyone understand what we were reading about?  No, because we were all reading at the same time.  Now I want everyone to read silently for a few seconds. (Everyone reads silently)  Now stop.  Wasn’t that much easier to understand what you were reading.  So today I want everyone to read silently so we can all visualize what we are reading individually.”

2.  “Today we are going to work on making pictures in our mind as we read.  Most chapter books do not have pictures in them so we have to create them in our mind.  Now we are going to practice, I want everyone to close your eyes while I read a part of Charlotte’s Web. (Teacher reads the first paragraph of the book)  Now open your eyes, who can raise their hand and describe the picture they made in their mind.  (Teacher calls on several students to share)  The wonderful thing about making these pictures in your mind is that they are your own, so you can create the way you want everything to look.”

3.  “We are going to start reading Charlotte’s Web and I want everyone to use your visualization strategies as you read.  If you need to close your eyes every now and then to picture something then feel free to do so.”

4.  “Now I want everyone to get their book out and place it on your desk, and listen to me.  This book is about a little girl named Fern who loved a pig named Wilbur.  Wilbur was going to be sent off to the butcher, so Fern and Wilbur’s friends, Charlotte and Templeton, tried to save him.  Now let’s read Charlotte’s Web and find out what happens to Wilbur.  Now I want everyone to read the first page silently and don’t forget to visualize the story.”

5.  “Now raise your hand when you are done reading the first page.”  The teacher will call on students to share their visualizations of the first page.

6.  “I want you all to continue reading until you get to chapter 2.  I want you then to write down your favorite part of the chapter so far and draw a picture of it.”  The students will then present their favorite part to the class and show their image of that part. (The teacher will use the checklist during these presentations.)



Children will read silently chapter one, and then write down their favorite part and draw a picture of it.  During the presentation the teacher will use the checklist to assess what they know.



Cuff, Kristen.  “Open the Doors to Imagination.”


Pressley, M. (1989).  “Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text”.  The Elementary School Journal.  pp. 9-13.


White, E.B. (1952).  Charlotte’s Web.  Harper & Row, Publishers:  New York.

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