Picture A TERRIFIC pig


Reading to Learn

By:  Chelsi Simmons


Rationale:  The overall goal of reading is to comprehend text.  For comprehension it is important for a reader to use what they already know and connect it with the new text to create a visual in their mind.  By visualizing you can understand what you are reading better as well as comprehend text easier.  Visualization takes place when one forms mental images in their mind while reading.  In this lesson, students will make connections between text and their background knowledge by visualizing what they understood while reading.  They will express their visualization by drawing pictures.


*Dry Erase or Chalk board/ chalk or dry erase markers

 *Copy of the book Charlotte’s Web for each student

 *White paper for each student

 *Crayons for each student

*Charlotte’s Web video

 *List of comprehension question for student assessment: (How did Fern feel about her father killing the runt pig?, What was Charlotte’s “miserable inheritance”?, Name 2 things Wilbur did to prove he was radiant, Describe how Wilber came to name Charlotte’s three daughters.)



 1.  “You are all such great readers.  Sometimes when we focus a lot on just reading the words we do not understand the words we just read.  Have you ever read something and had to go back and reread it because you did not understand what you read?  Remember when we worked on reading silently, or reading to ourselves without moving our mouths?  This was a way for us to use only our minds to figure out the words in the text.

 Another way we can help to understand what an author is trying to tell us is to create a picture, in our minds, of what is going on as we read.  The more we read into the text the more we can add to our mental picture.  Today we are going to read silently so that everyone can visualize what they are reading individually.”

 2.  “To really comprehend the book we are going to read you need to visualize the text you are reading.  In order to understand what it means to visualize words that you read we are going to all do a visualization exercise.”  For example, I am going to read this sentence in my mind (Write sentence on board so student can see sentence).  The grass was and the Earth smelled of springtime.  Fern’s sneakers were sopping wet by the time she reached her father.   Now this time as I read I am going to show you the   picture my mind is drawing (As teacher reads she begins to draw all the elements of the sentences.  Try to read at as normal pace as possible).  This picture will help me remember what happened in the sentence I read.  I don’t always draw it out on a board or paper; I always create a picture in my mind.  Let’s practice this together.”  Give each student a blank sheet of paper and crayons.  “Ok, I want you all to close your eyes and imagine you are on a farm.  You decide to visit the different types of animals.  Picture what is going on around you.  Who are you with?  What do you see, hear, and smell? (allow time for children to form pictures in their minds)  Ok, now I want you to draw the picture you have in your mind on your blank sheet of paper.  You just visualized what you heard me say to you now we are going to visualize what we silently read.”

 3.  Give every student a copy of Charlotte’s Web, as well as another sheet of blank paper.  “Today we are going to visualize while reading the chapter book Charlotte’s Web.  This book is about a little girl named Fern who loved a pig named Wilbur.  Wilbur was going to be sent off to the butcher, so Fern and Wilbur’s friends, Charlotte and Templeton, tried to save him.  To find out what happens to Wilber we will have to read the book.  For the first chapter I am going to read aloud to you.  I want you all to close your eyes and visualize while I read, and when I finish we will talk about the visual pictures that you made in your mind. (When finished reading discuss the pictures students visualized in their minds) Now I want you all to read chapter two silently.  As you read, don’t forget to use your visualization strategies.  Also, it is ok to close your eyes every now and then to create a better mental picture.  When you get to the end of chapter two, draw a picture of what you just read.  You can add as much detail as you would like, but remember to draw what you saw in your mind as you were reading.  Once everyone has finished reading and drawing their picture, we will share our images with each other.” (Allow student to share visualizations)

 4.  In order to assess the students’ understanding of visualization, collect the students’ visualization pictures as well as have them write an explanation of what they visualized.  Check to make sure the students know the characters, setting, and situation of the story.  The list of comprehension questions in the Materials section may help with further assessment.

 6.  Once the students have finished reading the whole book, let them watch the Charlotte’s Web video.  The students will be able to compare the visualizations they made while reading the book to the visualizations the movie portrays.  By watching the video, student will be able to check their comprehension of the story.


Book:  White, E.B. (1952).  Charlotte's Web.  Harper & Row, Publishers:  New York.

Video:  Charlotte's Web by Paramount Pictures.  Available at amazon.com

Karla Hollis.  Pigs:  A Visual Splendor http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/hollisrl.html

Jeanine Grimes.  Picture It! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/grimesrl.html

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