Can You See It?


Reading to Learn

Abby Smith


Rationale: Learning to comprehend text as they read is an important skill that children need to learn to become expert readers.  Visualization is one skill that readers can learn to help build comprehension.  It is important for students to visualize what they are reading because it helps them to better understand what is happening in the story.  When readers can picture the story unfolding in their mind, they become actively engaged in the meaning of the text.  This lesson will help students learn to visualize what they are reading by creating mental images of their reading in their mind.  We will do this by practicing visualizing with a variety of different readings and listenings.



Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath (1 copy of the book for each student)

“Once Inch Tall” (1 copy of the poem for each student)

Drawing paper and crayons for each student

Assessment checklist with (Student accurately depicted events and Student accurately explained the events in the chapter)



  1. “Today we are going to learn how to visualize something while we are reading.  Who can tell me what visualize means?”  Allow children time to respond.  “That’s right, to visualize something means to see it in your mind even though it’s really not there.  I’m sure everyone has visualized something before.  Let’s practice for just a minute.  I want everyone to close your eyes and think about a trip to the beach while I read. 

Read: “I stepped into the soft, warm sand.  It was the first day of vacation and I couldn't wait to jump into the ocean waves.  The seagulls swooped over my head while I tried to get settled into the sand.  It was very crowded at the beach today.”

Allow time for children to visualize.  “When I call on you, I want you to tell me what you see. (Allow time for students to think, and then call on them)  Great!  You saw waves crashing, sand, beach blankets and umbrellas.  What you just did was visualization."

  1. 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 heads, this is how we visualize a story. 
  2. Give each student a copy of “Once Inch Tall” by Shel Silverstein.  “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 myself being tiny and trying to do the things in the poem. I was riding a worm to school and surfing on a piece of gum.  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.
  3. Give each student a copy of Everything on a Waffle.  “This is a new book we will be reading in class.  It is about a girl named Primrose who loses her parents in a storm at sea.  Primrose begins to have lots of accidents and she is moved from one family to another. Primrose is even put in foster care with a family in another city.   She begins to feel as if nothing will ever go right, and she will never find a good home.  To find out what happens to Primrose we have to read the book.  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.


Assessment: Have each student come in front of class and tell about his drawing.  Assess children’s drawings based on that they depict what the author was trying to make the reader visualize and the children’s ability to describe the picture to the class. Use checklist for assessment:

1. Student accurately depicted events

2. Student accurately explained the events in the chapter


Horvath, Polly.  Everything on a Waffle.  2001.  United States:  Sunburst Books.

Silverstein, Shel. “Once Inch Tall” from Where the Sidewalk Ends. 1974. New York: Harper Collins.

Byrd, Sarah.  Snap a Picture.


“ One Inch Tall”  by Shel Silverstein




If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall).

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