Snap a Picture!

Reading to Learn
Sarah Byrd


It is vital that children learn to comprehend text as they read.  One way to help them with their comprehension skills is through visualization.  When readers can see the story unfolding in their head, they become actively engaged in the meaning of the text.  Visualization helps the story to come alive!



One copy of Settin' Around by Shel Silverstein for each student

Drawing paper and crayons for each student

One copy of Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Assessment checklist with (Student accurately depicted events and Student accurately explained the events in the chapter)



1.Review silent reading – "Who can tell me what silent reading is?  Excellent!  Silent reading is when we read quietly to ourselves so that we don't disturb others around us.  When we read silently, we can see pictures of what is happening in the story in our heads.  This is called visualization.  Let's practice.  I want everyone to close your eyes and think about a trip to the beach while I read. (Read aloud: I stepped into the soft, warm sand.  It was the first day of vacation and I couldn't wait to jump into the ocean waves.  The seagulls swooped over my head while I tried to get settled into the sand.  It was very crowded at the beach today.)  When I call on you, I want you to tell me what you see. (Allow time for students to think, and then call on them)  Great!  You saw waves crashing, sand, beach blankets and umbrellas.  What you just did was visualization."

2. Give each student a copy of Settin' Around by Shel Silverstein.  After students have read poem silently, read it aloud to them while they close their eyes and visualize.  "When I read this poem, I saw a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghoul sitting around a campfire with a little boy while he told scary stories.  They all had frightened looks on their faces.  Raise your hand and tell me something you visualized." (Allow share time).  Hold up a previously drawn picture of what you visualized while reading the poem.  "This is my picture of what I visualized in my head."  Explain to the class why you drew what you did.

3. Give each student a copy of Esperanza Rising.  "This is a new book that we will be starting today.  It is about a girl named Esperanza who thinks her life is perfect until her father is killed and her home is burned to the ground.  She and her mother are forced to leave Mexico to escape her cruel uncles.  I want you to read the first chapter silently and draw a picture of one thing you visualize while reading."  Allow time for students to read and draw.



Once all students are finished, have them come up in front of the class to display and explain their drawing.  Grade them based on the following checklist:

Student accurately depicted events

Student accurately explained the events in the chapter


Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. 1978. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Grey, Erin.  Visualizing Sarah.

Silverstein, Shel.  Settin' Around from Falling Up. 1996. New York: Harper Collins.


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