Can you see it?

Heather Lynch

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.

Copy of the book Tuck Everlasting for each student
Poster with sentences about a park written on it:  I love to play at the park.  Everytime I go there I play on the swings.  Sometimes I even jump off.  The park is fun.
Poster with sentences about the beach written on it:  I went to the beach in June.  The beach is very hot.  I love the ocean, because it is cold.  The beach is exciting.
Construction Paper (enough for each student, white preferably)
Crayons of Markers (enough for each student)
TV and DVD player
DVD of Tuck Everlasting

1)  Today we are going to find out how to read to learn.  A strategy that we are going to use is call visualization.  Before discussing visualization talk first about silent reading.  “Does anyone remember what it means to read silently (give time for response).  That’s right to read silently means to read in your head without moving your lips.  Do you think it is important to read silently?  Yes, because if everyone reads out loud at the same time then it gets very noisy and confusing.”  Pick two students and have them come up to the front of the room.  Pick a different page out of Tuck Everlasting for each child and yourself.  “Now we are going to all read at the same time and I want you to listen and tell me what you hear.”  “Ok let’s read” Read for a few seconds and then say stop.  “Now did anyone understand what we were saying?  Now I want everyone to read silently for a few seconds.  Now stop.  Wasn’t it so much easier to pay attention to what you were reading without all that noise?  Today we are going to use our silent reading skills so that we can all visualize what we are reading.”

2)  “In order to gain more skill as a reader you have to be able to visualize what you are reading, which means to make a picture in your head when you read a story.”  Explain to students how you are going to paint mental pictures in your mind and before they do it on their own you are going to show them how to do it.  Read the first set of senetences:  I love to play at the park.  Everytime I go there I play on the swings.  Sometimes I even jump off.  The park is fun.  “Now before you work on visualization on your own I am going to show you how I would visualize myself playing at the park.  It is a warm, sunny summer day and I can feel the wind blowing.  It’s not too hot, just warm enough.  I see a swing set at the far end of the park and as I run towards it I feel the breeze blowing against my face and my hair flying behind me.  When I get to the swing I sit on the rubber seat, and when I sit down it sags towards the ground and I have to grab the cool metal chain links to keep myself from falling backwards.  As I begin to swing I move my legs back and forth and I feel the sun on my face and the breeze blowing as I swing higher and higher.  Then I decide to jump off, so I put my arms in front of the chain and as soon as I get to the very highest point I jump!  When I land I feel the gravel shift beneath my feet, happy to be on the ground.  I never want to leave the park because it is so much fun!" 

3)  "
Now you are going to try and visualize.  Everyone get comfortable in your desk and close your eyes.  We have to be really quiet in order for this to work.  Let's read these sentences.  I went to the beach in June.  The beach is very hot.  I love the ocean, because it is cold.  The beach is exciting. Now I want you to use your visualization to picture what is going on around you.  Did everyone get a picture of the beach in their heads?”  Model how to form a visualization of the beach by describing what you saw and have the children share something they pictured at the beach.  “It is important for us to visualize what we read because it helps us to better comprehend the story by making up pictures to go along with the words.”

4)  “Today we are going to practice visualizing with our chapter book Tuck Everlasting.  This book is about a little girl named Winnie Foster and what happens when she encounters a family named the Tucks who drank from a magic spring and now something has happened to them.  To find out what happens with Winnie and the Tucks we will have to read the book.  Now I am going to read the first chapter to you so that you can practice visualizing.”  Read the first chapter aloud while students listen.  “Did you all get a picture of what was going on?  Who can tell us what they saw?”  Call on several students to explain their ideas.  “Isn’t it fun that we can all read the same thing but get such different ideas?  Visualization is so much fun because we can make the story our own!”

5)  Pass out copies of Tuck Everlasting, construction paper, and crayons to each student.  “Now I want everyone to read the next 3 chapters by themselves and don’t forget to use your visualization strategies.  When you get done reading I want you to draw a picture of what you imagined.  I also want you to write a sentence about the chapters that you have read.”

6)  In order to assess student’s ability to visualize collect the student’s pictures.  Check to make sure that the students know the setting, characters and main events which will be evident in their pictures as well as their written explanation.  Base the student’s grades on their comprehension not artistic ability.  To make sure that they are using the visualization technique ask them questions from the second and third chapter of Tuck Everlasting that would require them to have made a mental picture.  Questions such as:  Where was Winnie when she saw the frog?  When Winnie found a guy sitting in the forest what was he doing?  You can also ask them a question that is not in the story such as:  What did Winnie say when she found a horse by the road?  This way you are checking the students comprehension as well as trying to conflict with their mental pictures to make sure that they were paying attention.

7)  Once the students have finished reading the entire book let them watch the DVD version of Tuck Everlasting.  The students will be able to compare the visualizations they made to those of the director of the film.  This will also help with their ability to check their comprehension of the story. 

Babbitt, Natalie.  Tuck Everlasting.  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  1975.

DVD:  Tuck Everlasting.  Walt Disney.  2002.  88 minutes.

McKean, Landon.  Visions of Pigs.  The Reading Genie website:

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