Kristin Acuff

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Open the Doors to Imagination

Rationale: The most important goal of reading is comprehension.  In order for children to successfully comprehend what they are reading, they must be able to visualize the text in their minds.  In this lesson, children will learn how to construct mental images from their reading through visualization.

Materials: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (class set), writing journals, pencils, checklist for teacher


  1. Review silent reading.  "Does everyone remember what silent reading is?  Yes, it is when you read without saying the words out loud—you say them in your head.  It is important to read silently, because if everyone were to read out loud then no one would be able to pay attention to what they are reading because they would get distracted.  When you all read silently do you ever picture what you are reading in your minds?  Well that is what we are going to talk about today."
  2. "Remember when you all were younger and only read books with pictures in them?  Well, now that you are older and reading books with little or no pictures in them does not mean that you still cannot 'see' what is going on in the stories.  If you close your eyes you can see pictures in your mind; this is called visualization.  Visualization helps us to remember what we read.  Let's try a little exercise-- I want everyone to close their eyes and visualize this in your mind: (the teacher will read an excerpt from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud).  Can anyone tell me what they pictured in their mind as I read to you?"
  3. "Now I want you all to keep your eyes open as I read aloud to you again."  The teacher will read another excerpt from the book.  "Did anyone notice any difference in how they pictured the story in their minds from when you closed your eyes and listened?  Will someone share with the rest of the class what they visualized with their eyes open as I read aloud to you?"
  4. "When you all read chapter books with few or no pictures in them, this is what you have to do in order to remember what you read.  When you picture the story in your mind as you read, it helps you to better comprehend the story after you have finished reading.  If it helps you to close your eyes to visualize the story, then you can take a break at the end of each chapter in a book to think about what you have just read."
  5. "We are going to read the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis."  At this point, the teacher will give a book talk to get the students interested in the story and pass out copies to each student.  "Now, I want everyone to read the first page silently, and don't forget to visualize what you are reading."
  6. "Can anyone describe their visualizations as you read?"  The teacher can do this visualization exercise several times with the students if she wishes.  Following each visualization exercise, students share their images with the rest of the class.
  7. After the class has read the first chapter or so, the teacher will ask the students to write down their favorite line of imagery from the text they have read thus far.  Four or five students come up to the front of the class and, while the rest of the class has its eyes closed, create an oral collage by reading their selected passages and leaving space between speakers so the class can visualize each passage. 

Assessment: The students will silently read the next chapter in the book and create illustrations of what they visualized as they read that chapter.  The teacher will go around the room and look at all of the children's pictures (ask what pages their ideas came from).  The teacher must be sure that they grasped both the idea of the story, and how to use visualization when they are reading; she will use a checklist to measure this.


  The illustration reflects excerpt from book.

  Child can describe what he/she visualizes when reading.

  Child comprehends what he/she has read by telling me.


C.S. Lewis. (1998). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

McClellan, Jennifer. "What do You See?"

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