Can You See It?
Reading to Learn Design Project (Visualization)
Laura Meadors

Rationale:  In order for children to successfully comprehend a story, whether they are silent reading or reading aloud, children must visualize in their heads what they are reading.  To visualize is to simply make the story come alive through mental images in your mind.  Comprehension of a story through imagination is a great way to help readers summarize what they are reading.  During this lesson, the children will learn to create mental pictures of what they are reading in both sentences and paragraphs.  By doing this, it will help children learn to create mental images of what they are reading throughout an entire story.

Materials:  White printing paper, markers, an assessment checklist, copies of "The Thanksgiving Day Parade" by Jack Prelutsky, and copies of Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson.

1. Procedure:  "Okay class, I want you to get very quiet and still in your desks, close your eyes and sit without saying a word for 30 seconds.  Now that everyone is settled down and relaxed, still with their eyes closed, I want you to picture something for me.  Picture your most favorite place in the whole world.  This could be somewhere you have gone on vacation, somewhere you have gone with your friends or family, or somewhere very close to home that you have discovered all by yourself.  Now that you are at this place, I want you to think about the weather, is it cold, hot, warm, cool? Now think about the smell.  Does it smell like flowers, the beach, the mountains, a campfire, food…etc.?  Now think about what you like to do at your favorite place and imagine yourself doing it.  Are you with anyone, or are you by yourself?  What are you doing?  Now that you have all thought of your favorite place and imagined in your minds exactly how that place is, I want you to open your eyes.  Wasn't it fun to close your eyes and pretend you were at your favorite place?" (Students will respond).  The teacher will now model for the children what she visualized in her head. "Now I am going to give you all a chance to share what you thought about." (Students can volunteer to share).  "This process of seeing mental pictures in your mind that we all just did together is called visualization.  Visualization is a very important tool in learning to comprehend what you read.  Today we are going to learn why".
2. "Now that you are all getting older, you are starting to read longer books with more words and less pictures.  When stories have no pictures, it is up to us as readers to use the story we are reading to form mental pictures in our heads of what is going on and what everything looks like in the story.  Do you remember when we learned about silent reading and how we read a book without saying the words?  Well, silent reading is a great time to use our visualization skills.  With silent reading, we can focus more on what we are thinking, rather than what we sound like when we are reading aloud".
3. The teacher will hand out a copy of the poem for each child.  "Now I am going to read this poem to you called, 'The Thanksgiving Day Parade' by Jack Prelutsky. As I read this poem, I want you to close your eyes and use your visualization skills to imagine what is going on in the poem and to make mental images of what you think this parade and the atmosphere looks like."  The teacher will read the poem to the students.  "Now that I am done reading the poem, I'd like to hear from some volunteers on what you visualized in your head as I was reading. Tell me and the class some of the things you saw, heard, smelled…etc."  The teacher will let some of the students share their mental images.
4. The teacher will pass out a copy of Old Yeller, a piece of printing paper and markers to each student.  "Now that you all practiced visualizing when I read, I want you to take your copy of Old Yeller, read the first chapter and practice visualizing while you read!  Remember, when you read silently, you don't have any sounds coming out of your mouth and you aren't moving your lips.  Let me see everyone practice their silent reading skills on the first sentence.  GREAT!!!  Now I want you to finish reading the rest of the chapter and as you read, I want you to visualize what you are reading."
5. "Now that you are all done with your silent reading of chapter one and you have already practiced visualizing what you read, I want you to take your piece of paper that I passed out to you and use the markers to draw something you saw when you read."  When each child is done, they will bring their picture to the teacher so she can use her assessment checklist to check off each students name that they completed their assignment of drawing what they visualized.
6. "Now that you all are finished and I have checked everyone's paper, I will go around the room desk by desk and give you the option of sharing what you drew and saw with the class.  You never know, what you visualized in the story may be the same as what someone else visualized!"

References:

The Reading Genie Website:
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/omeararl.html

"The Thanksgiving Day Parade" by Jack Prelutsky:
http://www.jeannepasero.com/Thanksgiving/parade.html

Gipson, Fred.  Old Yeller.  HarperCollins Publishers, 1972.

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