Imaginations on the Run!


Reading to Learn

Andi Stafford

Rationale: Comprehension is an essential component of reading. In order for students to become successful readers, it is important that they develop comprehension strategies and construct meaning from the text that they are reading. One of the most effective comprehension strategies available for students to use is visualization. Visualization is a strategy that involves the reader constructing images inside their mind based on the text they are reading. When readers visualize a text, they are able to devise a mental construct of the text, and will be able to make it more memorable and easy to understand. In this lesson, students will learn to use visualization strategies to aid in their comprehension of the text. They will practice constructing these visualizations while reading, and then will convey what they have learned through illustrations (their visualizations) and explanations of the text.


Drawing paper


Colored Pencils

Class set of There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar

Overhead with Poem

Toot! Toot!

A peanut sat on a railroad track,

His heart was all a-flutter;

The five-fifteen came rushing by ���

Toot! Toot! Peanut Butter!

-         Anonymous

Assessment checklist




Students include characters from the chapter in illustration.



Student's illustration accurately reflects a passage from the chapter.



Student statement has a clear correlation between the statement and the illustration that pertain to a passage within the chapter.



Student pays attention to detail.








1. I will begin this lesson today by reviewing silent reading with my students. Say: Today we are going to work on something that is very important part to being a skillful reader, but first we are going to practice something very easy���silent reading. Have the students pull out any kind of book they would like to read and have them read for 2 minutes. This is just to review silent reading. Say: Now, something that is very important to being a skillful reader is comprehension.  Can anyone tell me what comprehension means? Great! It means being able to understand and make sense of what you have read. But sometimes this can be hard to do if there are not any pictures or clues to help us better understand what we are going to learn a special trick.

2. Say: Ok, let's talk about this special trick. It's called visualization. Visualization is when you picture in your head what is happening in the book that you are reading. It's very important to learn to do this because if you can't remember what you read, you won't understand what is going on in the story or learn new things.

3. Say: Alright, now we are going to practice our special trick. I am going to read a poem and while I do this, I want you to close your eyes and listen. Picture in your mind what the poem is talking about. Read poem Toot! Toot! Say: As I read the poem I thought about a peanut sitting on the railroad tracks and then the train coming by and squishing it. Ask for a few volunteers to share what they visualized.

4. Say: You are all doing great job visualizing what you are reading. Now it's your turn to read a book and tell me what you visualize. Pass out books and give book talk. Book talk: Bradley Chalkers is the oldest kid in fifth grade. He tells lies, picks fights with girls, and all of the teachers think he has a serious behavior problem. Nobody likes him. Will Bradley become nice and get friends or will he forever be "the bad kid?" Let's read to find out.

5. Say: Now, I want you to read the first chapter of the book silently. While you are reading, use your special trick to help you understand what you are reading. When you finish reading that chapter, take out your drawing paper and make an illustration of what you visualized in your head. You may use your colored pencils and crayons to add detail to your illustrations. Once you have completed your drawing, write a short statement describing what you have illustrated and how it represents what you were visualizing.

Assessment: I will assess the students using the illustrations and statements they constructed from what they read. Also, I will use the comprehension checklist.


Anonymous. Toot! Toot! New York, NY. Random House, Inc. 1983

Nims, Courtney. What Do You See?

Sachar, Louis. There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom. New York, NY. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1987.

Smith, Leah B. Picture It!




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