Movies in Your Mind

Reading to Learn

Stephanie Broach


After students learn how to read, the most important thing to practice is comprehension.  Comprehension is the ability to come away after reading a piece with an understanding of the main idea of the passage.  One of the best ways to practice comprehension with students is visualization.  This is when a reader creates a mental picture of the events taking place in the story in order to help him/her remember the main idea.  This lesson will teach students how to visualize while reading and how to use visualization to improve comprehension by having them read a narrative story and create a picture in their minds.  They will then have to use this picture to explain the events of the story.


White board and marker

Copy of "I Bought A Pet Tomato" by Kenn Nesbitt

Drawing paper and crayons for students

Copy of How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell for each student

Assessment sheets for teacher to use (enough for one per student):

            Did the student explain the main events of the chapter?

            Did the student explain his/her drawing and how it relates to the chapter?


  1. Begin by telling the students, "Last week we talked about comprehension.  Remember, comprehension means understanding something that we are reading.  Sometimes when we read we have a hard time remembering what is going on in the story.  Something that we can do to help ourselves remember is to create movies in our minds of the events taking place in the story.  I like to call these 'movies in our minds.'   Today we're going to be creating movies in our minds as we begin reading a new book called How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell.  Before we start with the book we're going to do a practice movie in our mind while I read a poem.  Ask students to close their eyes and listen as you read, "I Bought a Pet Tomato" by Ken Nesbitt.  After you read it tell the students, "When I read this I imagined a little tomato with a face trying to do all the things people do!  First I imagine a little boy throwing sticks and balls at a tomato.  Then I visualize the tomato running around the yard with little legs."  I want you all to tell me some of the pictures you had in your mind when I read this."  Call on the students one by one and have them come sketch out their picture on the board.
  2. After finishing the practice activity, hand out copies of How to Eat Fried Worms to the students.  Explain to them that they will be given some time to read the first chapter.  "While you read I want you to think about what pictures youâre making in your mind.  After you finish the first chapter, you will draw your "movie in your mind" on paper.  You donât have to draw everything that you picture in your mind throughout the entire chapter but make sure that you get down the most important 'scenes.'"  Before the students begin reading give a short book talk: "This story is about a young boy named Billy.  Some other boys want to make a bet with him.  They bet him that he wouldn't be able to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days.  He thinks he can do it!  Billy is allowed to prepare the worms in anyway that he wishes before he eats them.  Will the worms taste good in any of the ways he fixes them?  Will he be able to win the bet?  You'll have to read the book to find out!"
  3. After giving the student sufficient time to read the first chapter and complete their pictures have them share with the class one at a time.  When the students get up to share, they should be prepared to give a short synopsis of the chapter as well as explain their drawing and how it helped them to better understand the story.  While the students are doing this, the teacher will use the assessment sheet in order to check for use of visualization and comprehension.


Byrd, S. "Snap a Picture!"

Nesbitt, K. "I Bought a Pet Tomato."

Reading Genie:

Rockwell, T. How to Eat Fried Worms. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc: New

York, NY. 1973.