I Spy with My Little Mind
Learning to Read
By Autumn Aldrich
Rationale:  Visualization is an important part of comprehending reading material.  When children can visualize, they can better understand their book and can therefore better enjoy their book.  The construction of representational images improves children's learning of text, as proven by consistent research.  The children will learn, in this lesson, how to visualize what they are reading to better understand what they are reading.       

Materials:  The poem "Thumb Face" the book Duke Ellington, paper for each child, crayons and chart paper.

Procedures:  1.  Introduce the lesson to the children, "Visualizating when you read, is like playing a movie inside your head.   When you can see the characters and the settings, you can remember what happened better and you can understand what going on better.

2.  Write Shel Silverstein's Poem on the board, or have it prepared on chart paper.  Model Visualizing for the children.  Read the poem aloud then take a moment to close the eyes to make a movie.  Then read the poem a second time silently this time and tell the children that you are "activating my movie".  Review silent reading with the children before they practice visualization on their own.  "When we read silently we are saying the words in our head.  Our own personal story".

3.  Ask the kids to try visualizing.  "Lets try this together, lets read the poem together aloud.  Take a moment to visualize and make your movie.  Now lets read the poem silently.  Now you guys can activate your movie".  

4.  Cover up the poem and pass out paper and crayons.  If the kids visualized well they should be able to draw an accurate picture of the Thumb Face.  Read the poem aloud to the kids and let them check their accuracy.       
5.  Pass out Duke Ellington and allow the kids to read, starting quietly and then silently so they can make their movies and activate them.  Ask them to try reading silently and see if they can make and activate their movie at the same time.   

6.  Assessment:  Ask the students the following questions.  1) What sport did Duke want to play instead of practicing the piano? 2) What instruments were included in Duke's Orchestra? 3) What kind of music did Duke play? 4) What make Duke's performance at Carnegie Hall so important?

Reference:  Burt, Marcia. Use Your Mind to Make Mental Images.                      

Pinkey, Andrea Davis: Duke Ellington.  Scholastic Inc., New York; 1998

Silverstein, Shel;  "Thumb Face", A Light In the Attic, Harper Collins Publishers, New     York; 1981