Paint Your Own Picture

Visualizing While Reading

Liz Hooper



Comprehension is an important part to becoming a good reader. It helps readers to understand what they are reading. One strategy that readers can use to increase comprehension is visualization. Visualization is when readers make pictures in their heads about what they reading. This lesson is designed to help students increase comprehension through visualization. To become a successful reader a child must learn to visualize what it is that they are reading.  Visualization takes place when children make a mental image of what it is that they are reading.  By visualizing a story you are better able to comprehend the text as well as fully enjoy what you are reading.  Since the most important goal of reading is comprehension, children can visualize what they are reading so that it more easily makes sense.  This lesson will teach students how to visualize a text by drawing pictures of what they see while reading thus promoting comprehension.


A copy of Where the Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak. Pub. Harper Collins 1988

Class set Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith 1989. Pub. Putnam Juvenile

Colored Pencils

White Paper




1.     Review silent reading with the students. Today we are going to talk about visualizing what we are reading, but first we have to review silent reading. What is silent reading? That is correct. Silent reading is when we read to ourselves quietly and our mouths do not move.

2.     I want everyone to put their heads on their desk, relax, close your eyes, and listen to me very closely.  The sun is shining very bright and it is hot day at the park. You run to the swing and swing as high as you can. You get hot and go get a cold glass of lemonade. I want you to imagine what is going on in your picture. Who is at the park with you? How are feeling? What kinds of smells do you smell? Food? What do you hear? Give them ample amount of time to imagine their pictures. I want everybody to open their eyes and we will talk about our visualizations. Model for the students your visualization to show them how to do it effectively.  In my picture, I was at an amusement park. I got really tired from all of the rides and bought me something to drink. I could hear people screaming on the roller coasters and I could smell the corn dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn in the air. What I just showed you is called visualization. Visualization is when you imagine or see a picture in your head. It is important to visualize when you are reading to help you understand what is going on.

3.     Read the story Where the Wild Things Are and hand out paper and pencils. I am going to read this story aloud to you but I am not going to show you any pictures. I want you to listen very closely to the words I am saying and try to paint a picture in your head of what you think is going on. Think about what Max looks like and what kind of things he is going to see on his adventure.. (read 8 pages) Ok, now I want you draw a picture on your paper. Think about the things you visualized in your head and draw that on paper. These visualizations are helping you understand the story by picturing the characters, places, and events in your mind!

4.     Give everybody a copy of Chocolate Fever, a pencil and one piece of copy paper. Have the students to read chapter 1 of the books silently to themselves. After you have read chapter one (4 pages), then I want you to draw on your paper a picture of what you visualized. Write about your picture at the bottom of the page to help you remember what it is about. Pay close attention to adjectives. Remember that adjectives are describing words. These words will help you with your pictures. We will do this after each chapter. At the end of the book, we will have a visualization book or picture book of all the chapters. This lesson will have to be done over a course of a week.

5.     Allow the students to finish their pictures for chapter 1. I want you to turn to a neighbor and I want you to talk about your visualizations. Compare and contrast them to see how they are the same and how they are different. Describe what words you used to create your picture and what things stuck out in your mind that made you draw the things you did. Collect the students’ pictures and keep them so that at the end they can be put in a folder together for each student.

6.    Assessment: I would assess the students by looking at their pictures. I would make sure that their pictures match the story and that they are not making it up. Have a checklist for each chapter about the important parts such as characters and what happened in each chapter. Make sure students are using descriptive words and are able to rationalize the reasons they drew the things they drew.



 Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. Harper Collins 1988.

Smith, Robert Kimmel.  Chocolate Fever.  Putnam Juvenile.  1989.

Picture this! Katie Anderson