Do You See What I See?
moving eyes

Reading to Learn Design

by Michelle Mazza

Rationale: To become an expert reader, one must learn to comprehend the text as they read. Visualization is a very important skill that readers can use to help build comprehension.  Being able to visualize the events in a story helps students to better understand the plot of the story.  As readers begin picturing the story unfolding in their mind, they become actively engaged in the story. This lesson will help students learn to visualize what they are reading by assisting them in creating mental images of the reading in their minds. 



- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1 copy for each student)

- Copy of poem for each student

-White paper and crayons for each student

-Assessment checklist for each student



 1. “Today we are going to practice visualizing the story as we read it.  Does anyone know what it means to visualize? “You are exactly right; when you visualize something, you picture it in your mind based on details in the story even though a picture is not actually provided.  I’m sure everyone has visualized something before whether you realize it or not.  Let’s practice for just a minute.  I want everyone to close your eyes and think about a trip to the fair while I read.

 Read: “I ran through the dry, dirty ground through the entrance to the fair.  I could not wait to get on the biggest, fastest roller coaster that I could find.  The smell of hot popcorn and fresh funnel cakes filled the air.  The sound of children screaming and running with excitement echoed throughout the fair grounds.  It was very crowded at the fair today! 

 Allow time for children to visualize.  “When I call on you, I want you to tell me what you saw as I read about the fair. (Allow time for students to think, and then call on them)  Great!  I bet you saw children running through the crowds, concession stands and rides of all kinds.”

2. 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 minds, and that is how you visualize a story.

3. Give each student a copy of What you Don’t Know about Food by Florence Perry Heide.  “Now I want you to silently read the poem to yourself.”  Allow time for children to read while you also read the poem silently. 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 kept picturing all of the food items being made of the silly things in the poem.  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.

4. Give each student a copy of Number the Stars.  “This is a new book we will be reading in class.  It is about a girl named Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen.  Annemarie and Ellen live in Denmark during the time of Nazi invasion.  Ellen, who is Jewish, is forced to go into hiding with Annemarie’s family.  Annemarie is asked to go on a very dangerous mission that will hopefully save her best friend’s life.  To find out what happens to Ellen and Annemarie, let’s finish reading Number the Stars.  Now 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.


Have each student come to the front of class and tell about the image they drew.  Assess the student’s drawings based on that they depict an event in the story as well as their ability of describing the visualization to the class.  Use checklist for assessment:

1. Student accurately depicted an event ________

2. Student accurately explained an event from the selected chapter _________


Jelly’s made from jellyfish,

Spaghetti’s really worms.

Ice cream’s just some dirty snow

Mixed up with germy germs.

Bread is made of glue and paste.

So are cakes and pies.

Peanut butter’s filled with stuff

Like squashed-up lizard eyes.

And as you eat potato chips,

Remember all the while –

They’re slices of the dried-up brain

Of some old crocodile.

                                    -          Florence Perry Heide


- Heide, Florence Perry. What you Don’t Know about Food.

-Lowry, Lois.  Number the Stars.  1989.  New York, Yearling Books.

Smith, Abby.  Can You See It?

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