Visualizing Sarah, Just Plain and Tall


Reading to Learn
Meagan Spradlin



Rationale:  Visualization is crucial in reading.  It is important for students to visualize what they are reading because it helps them to better understand what is happening in the story.  This lesson will help students visualize what they are reading by creating mental images of the story or poem in their heads.


        Crocodile’s Toothache by Shel Silverstein (1 copy for each student)
       Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (1 book for each student)
Drawing Paper


1.      “Today we are going to learn how to visualize something while we are reading.  Who can tell me what visualize means?”  Allow children time to respond.  “That’s right, to visualize something means to see it in your mind even though it’s really not there.  I’m sure everyone has visualized something before.  Let’s practice for just a minute.  I want everyone to close your eyes and think about a nice, hot, summer day on the beach.”  Allow time for children to visualize.  “I saw the waves crashing on the shore and children playing in the sand while their mom and dad sunbathed under the beach umbrella.  Raise your hands and when I call on you, tell me what you saw.”  Allow time for children to respond.  “Great job, what you all just did was called visualization.”

2.     Give each child a copy of the poem Crocodile Toothache.  “Who remembers how we read silently?”  Allow time for children to respond.  “That’s exactly right.  We read to ourselves so that no one hears us.  Now I want you to silently read the poem to yourself.”  Allow time for children to read while you also read the poem silently.  “Now I will read the poem aloud to you and I want you to close your eyes and visualize what I read.”  Read poem while children visualize.  “I pictured a green crocodile sitting in a dentist chair with his mouth wide open and the dentist standing on a ladder to look inside the crocodile’s mouth.  Who would like to share with me what they visualized?”  Allow share time. Hold up a drawing (previously drawn) of what you visualized when you read this poem the first time.  “This is what my drawing would look like if I drew what I visualized when I read this poem.”  Explain drawing to children and why you drew what you drew.

3.     Give each child a copy of the book Sarah, Plain and Tall.  “This is a new book we will be reading in class.  It is about two children, Caleb and Anna, that live with their father, Jacob on a farm.  Their mother died years ago, so for many years it has just been the children and their father.  Well, now their father wants to find a wife, so he puts an ad out seeking a wife.  Sarah replies to his ad and comes to live with the family for a short while to see how things work out.  We will have to read the book to find out how things end up.”  Give each child a piece of drawing paper, markers, and crayons.  “Now I would like for you to read the first chapter of the book and then draw a picture of what you visualized while you were reading.”  Allow time for children to read and draw pictures.


        Have children come in front of class and tell about their drawings.  Assess children’s drawings in that they depict what the author was trying to make the reader visualize in the first chapter and also assess children’s ability to correctly describe the picture in relation to the first chapter.  Use checklist for assessment:

·        Student demonstrates an ability to use the author’s words to create a mental picture and put that into a drawing.

·        Student correctly describes the drawing in relation to the first chapter.


        MacLachlan, Patricia.  Sarah, Plain and Tall.  1985.  New York:  Scholastic, Inc.

Roehm, Sara. Do You See What I See?

Silverstein, Shel.  Crocodile’s Toothache.

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