What do you see?

Reading to Learn
Ivy Hopkins


Comprehension is an essential component of reading.  In order to be efficient and fluent readers, students must be able to understand what they are reading.  One strategy is representational imagery, or visualization.  This strategy requires students to visualize each event in the story.  This lesson will introduce students to the idea of visualizing images as they read text in hopes of improving their comprehension skills.  Students will practice this strategy by visualizing what is going on in poems and other texts and draw their visualizations.


     Two pieces of drawing paper per student
     one pencil per student; markers
     Settin' Around by Shel Silverstein (a copy for each student)
     chapter book, Sarah Plain and Tall one per student
     selection of classroom library books
     descriptive paragraph about fall


1. The teacher will review, by modeling, what we do when we read silently.   “Class, I want you to take out your library book and let’s go over what we need to do when we read silently. Follow me through these steps; first I want you to quietly whisper to yourself while you read.  Good now stop moving your lips and read to yourself.  Great!  It is important that we remember the rules of silent reading!”
2. Teacher will set up a scenario for the class to visualize, and she will read the paragraph about fall to the class.  “Ok class, I want you to close your eyes and think about what I am saying.  You are raking all of the leaves in your yard.  The leaves are bright yellow, red, and orange; they must have just fallen from the trees.  It is chilly outside but the sun feels warm.  What do you smell, see, and hear? You begin to get hot raking all of the leaves so you decide to get a drink of cold water.  Once you are through with your break.  You walk back outside and start running towards the pile of leaves.  You get there too late because the neighbors dog just ran and jumped into the large pile.  Red, orange, and yellow leaves are floating everywhere and scattered all over the ground.  You pick up your rake and start all over again.  What are you feeling?  Think about what everything looks like now compared to before.  (Give plenty of time for the students to do this.)  Ok now open your eyes.  Did you picture in your heads what this must have looked like?  I pictured myself raking all the pretty leaves into a neat pile; I imagined what it would be like on a fall day and to feel the cold air but the warm sun.  I think about the smell of burning leaves and the sound I make when I rake them.  I then imagine being thirsty and what it feels like to take that drink of cold water and how the glass must have felt.  I then feel running till I am out of breath and the frustration of seeing a dog ruin my neat piles.  Did someone else think of this differently?  Explain? When you see things in your mind it is called visualization.  It is important that as we read we use visualization to think about what is going on in the story.”
3.  Teacher will read a poem to the students and have them practice what was just modeled.  “Now I am going to read a poem to you.  I want you to use your visualization skills, as I read the story, to picture what is going on.  Think about how the character must look or be acting like as I read the poem. I will be reading the poem by Shel Silversein called, Settin' Around. Okay everyone close your eyes and listen as I read.”
4. Teacher asks the students what it is they visualized during the poem.  “Raising your hand tell me what you were seeing when I was reading the poem.  It is okay that as we visualize different parts of stories or poems that we think about things differently.  Everyone visualizes things differently and that is absolutely okay!  That is one of the things that make reading fun for everyone!  Visualization is a wonderful tool because it allows us to imaging the illustrations of a story in any way that we desire.  We can create a movie in our minds!  Because we are older now and read many books that do not have illustrations visualizations helps us to better understand a story!”
5.  Teacher will give each student a copy of Sarah Plain and Tall.  They are to read the first chapter and then draw and illustrate a picture depicting what it is they visualized from the first chapter. “This is a new book we will be reading in class.  It is about two children, Caleb and Anna that live with their father, Jacob, on a farm.  Their mother died years ago, so for many years it has just been the children and their father.  Well, now their father wants to find a wife, so he sends an ad out seeking a wife.  Sarah replies to his ad and comes to live with the family for a short while to see how things work out.  Will Sarah stay for good or will she go back home?  We will have to read the book to find out.  Now I would like for you to read the first chapter of the book silently and then draw a picture of what you visualized while you were reading.  
6.  The teacher will split the students up into their groups.  They are to share their illustration of their visualization and see how it may relate or differ to the others in the group.  “Great job on your picture; listen to my directions before you move.  I now want you to get into your groups and share your illustration, of your visualization, of the first chapter to the members of your group.  I want you to tell why you drew the picture and for everyone to see how others may have visualized the chapter.  Alright you may now move to your group.”  Over the next few weeks; the students will read the rest of the book and stop on every few chapters to illustrate and write a short paragraph depicting what they visualized.


Once all students are finished, have them come up in front of the class to display and explain their drawing.  Grade them based on the following checklist:
     Student accurately depicted events
     Student accurately explained the events in the chapter


Byrd, Sarah. Snap a Picture. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/byrdrl.html
Mac Lachlan, Patricia.  Sarah, Plain and Tall.  1985.  New York:  Scholastic, Inc
Pressley, M.  1989.  Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of     Text.  The Elementary School Journal (Vol. 90, Num.1).  Illinois:  The University of Chicago.
Silverstein, Shel.  Settin' Around from Falling Up. 1996. New York: Harper Collins.

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