Watching Mind Movies!

Elana Rees Willett
Reading to Learn

Rationale:    Teaching children to make “mind” movies in their heads will help them to comprehend texts better, as well as make reading more enjoyable.  By reading with visualization children will gain a deeper meaning of the story.  This lesson will help students learn how to visualize or make “mind” movies while they read by teaching them visualizing strategies and helping them learn how to see images in books with practice!    

All the small poems and fourteen more by Valerie Worth or
Fireworks by Connor (age 8)
Dork on the Run by Carol Gorman


1.    Begin this lesson by having the children try to picture a scene in their minds.  “I want everyone to close their eyes and think of a big chocolate ice cream cone.  Ok, now open your eves and describe what you imagined.” Let children talk among themselves for a minute to discuss the ice cream they pictured.  “Now, we are going to practice doing that again, but I am going to read you a poem to picture in your mind.  When we read poems, stories, or anything at all it is like we are creating a movie in our minds!  That’s my favorite thing about reading books, I get to create it just how I want.  I use the author’s words to get started, but then my mind creates things just how I imagine!  Even the characters can look how ever I want them to.  Ok, now let’s close our eyes again and create a movie of the poem Fireworks.”  
2.    “What kind of picture did you see in your mind?  Great, that is all wonderful!  I pictured myself at the fireworks show waiting for them to start.”  Pick through the poem with them, talking about what they pictured for each line.  Ask them if they could see the spark climbing in the air, did they hear the loud crack in their minds when it exploded?  
3.    “What we are doing is called visualization.  It helps us to become better readers because not only are we reading the words, but we really understand the story because we can see it in our minds.  We make the characters come alive by having them act in our mind movie!”
4.    Now we are going to read silently from the book, Dork on the Run.  Remember that we read silently by saying the words in our minds, but not out loud.  This means that no one can hear us but ourselves!  First, start reading and after you have a little just close your eyes and visualize some of the story that you have read.  Then you keep reading, only stopping every now and again to play your “mind movie!”  Ok, read beginning in Chapter 1 page 1, and go until the middle of page 4.  After you have finished reading, take out paper, and pencils or crayons to draw a picture of what you saw in your mind.  These pictures don’t have to be perfect, just do the best you can to show me what movie you were seeing!  
5.    Assessment:    Break the children into small groups so they discuss what they drew and compare with their peers.  I would discuss the passage with them to ensure their understanding and be sure each child was visualizing the correct images.  I would use a check list to make sure each child either drew or discussed something about characters, setting, feelings or emotions, and/or actions.  


-All the small poems and fourteen more by Valerie Worth; Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (1994)
-Fireworks by Connor (Age 8);
-Dork on the Run by Carol Gorman; Harper Collins (2002).
-Use Your Imagination by Volandra Holloway.


Fireworks by Connor (aged 8)

Spiraling fireworks
Fizzing up and
Whooshing like the wailing wind.
Rapid rockets
Zooming up,
Leaving a steamy trail.
A smell likeSteam engines going along the
Catherine wheels about
To take off with
Fizzling flames.
Shimmering light in the

Sample Checklist for Assessment

Did the student draw or discuss:

Characters _____
Setting       _____
Feeling or emotions     _____
Actions     _____

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