Take a Picture with the Camera in Your Head!




Rebecca Schofield



Comprehension is an important component of reading. There are several strategies that one can use to foster the development of reading. One strategy is representational imagery, or visualization. This lesson will introduce students to the idea of visualizing images as they read text in hopes of improving their comprehension skills.



        copy paper for student drawings

        crayons and markers

        a copy of the passage from Holes the book by Louis Sachar copyright May 9, 2000 by Yearling Books

        Sideways Stories from Wayside School the book by Louis Sachar copyright June 1, 1998 HarperTrophy

        copies of the poem Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends copyright 1974 Evil Eye Music, Inc. (attached)



        Before beginning review with students silent reading. Before we get started I want everyone to practice silent reading as you read Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Quietly whisper then stop moving your lips and read to your self. Great! IT is important that we review silent reading!


1.      "Okay everyone I would like everyone to please close your eyes, get comfortable at your desk, and relax. Please no talking because I need everyone to be completely quiet. I want you to picture in your minds that you are at the beach. It is very warm outside and you are getting very hot. You decide to go swimming in the water to cool off. I want you to picture what is going on around you. Who are you with? What are you feeling? What do you smell, see, and hear?" Teacher allows time for students to form pictures in their minds. "Now I want you to open your eyes. Did everyone form pictures of the beach in their heads?" (students respond) The teacher can model visualization by telling the students what she pictured about the beach. "When I closed my eyes I saw huge blue waves with and a white sandy beach covered in bright colored beach towels. I pictured the hot sun and the smell of salt water the sound of the crashing waves and the loud sea gulls. When you see things in your mind it is called visualization. It is important that as we read you use visualization to think about what is going on in the story."


2.      "Now I am going to read a poem to you. I want you to use visualization as I read the story. Think about how the character must look or be acting like as I read the poem. I will be reading the poem Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out by Shel Silverstein."



3.      Ask students to respond to the poem by asking them to explain: what they were thinking the trash pile looked like? How tall was it? Did it have bugs swarming around it? What was poor Sylvia doing? Teacher explains: It is okay that as we visualize different parts of stories or poems that we think about things differently. Everyone visualizes things differently and that is absolutely okay! That is one of the things that what makes reading fun for everyone! Visualization is a wonderful tool because it allows us to imagine the illustrations of a story in any way that we desire. We can create a movie in our minds! Because we are older now and read many books that do not have illustrations visualization helps us to better understand a story!


4.      Pass out passages from Holes and have students read the passage. Now I am going to pass out a passage from the book Holes. I want everyone to read this passage. When you are done reading the passage I would like you to draw what you visualized Camp Green Lake to be like. Pay close attention to the words the author uses. These words are descriptive words that help us visualize the story. I will pass out crayons, markers, and paper for you to use. Make sure you include the surroundings and how everything looked.



5.      Allow ample time for the students to read and illustrate the passage from the book. Great job! Now I want you to split into small groups and share your pictures. Please notice how are your pictures alike and how are they different.


6. I will also have the students finish Sideways Stories from Wayside School over the next week. I want them to practice using visualization and write a paper about what they visualized from their favorite chapter from the book.



The childrens drawings will be used as the assessment for the activity. I will use a checklist to make sure that the students used mental pictures in their minds to create an illustration. Items I will look for include: hot climate, lizards, dry lake, etc.




A-B-''See'' is easy as 123 http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/ritterrl.html by Shannon Ritter


Pressley, M. (1989). Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and
    Comprehension of Text. The Elementary School Journal (vol. 90, Num.1). Illinois: The University of Chicago.




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