Create-A-Comic Visualization

Hanna Taylor

Reading to Learn

 girl picturing a horse

Rationale:  In order for students to have clear comprehension of a reading, it is important that they learn to visualize. Visualizing is when you are able to picture the events and descriptions in a story without being provided an actual image. This lesson will walk students through the visualization process using a comic strip approach, encouraging them to remember detail from the text they read.


1) Comic Strip Handout-

2) "Ricky's Drum Set" short story included in this lesson plan (written by me)

3) Ben's Trumpet text: Isadora, Rachel. Ben's Trumpet. Greenwillow: New York, 1979.

4) Visualization Assessment Checklist



Introduce students to the concept of visualization- Visualization is when we are able to picture things in our head when we are not provided an image. For instance, if I read a poem describing a flower and I was able to produce an image of that flower in my mind, I would be visualizing. For example: The passage reads "the long-stemmed, golden sunflower waves in the breeze on a sunny spring morning." I will draw a tall green stem that is crooked as if it is waving, a yellow flower on top with round petals, a brght blue sky and a golden sun in the corner.

We find ourselves doing this sometimes when we read. It is important that we remember to visualize when we read because it helps us to create a memory of details from the story. This will help us to better understand and remember the story we are reading. Remember, reading accurately also helps understand what we read, so don't forget to use your crosschecking and re-reading strategy to figure out any words you don't know.

To practice visualizing, we are going to create a comic strip from a short story that I read. I will pass out a 3-panel blank comic strip and you will fill in the pictures according to the story I read. Remember to include as much detail as possible, including the setting, the colors mentioned, the mood of the characters, or anything else I mention that can be expressed in your pictures. (Make sure to model your visualizing on the board as you have the students draw theirs on their handouts).

Passage 1 for comic strip panel 1:

    7-year old Ricky picked up the shiny gold trumpet, pressed the mouthpiece firmly to his lips, and blew as hard as he could until his eyes crossed and his face turned red. The sound that came out of the trumpet was not exactly music to his ears.

Passage 2 for comic strip panel 2:

     So Ricky bent down and picked up a different instrument. This time he would try out his music skills on the tuba. He struggled to lift the huge silver instrument over his shoulders. The tuba, bigger than he, was almost too heavy for Ricky to manage. He blew into the mouthpiece, and was again disappointed in the sounds he heard.

Passage 3 for comic strip panel 3:

       "Forget it!" said Ricky. "I'm sticking to the drums," he said happily as he snatched up his beat-up wooden drumsticks and began recklessly banging and crashing on his black drum set.

Now you should all have a picture drawn for each passage. Raise your hand if you would like to share your picture with the class as you describe what you drew. Remember that each person's pictures may look different and this is okay! We all visualize differently. It is only important that we are able to create an image using the words the author provides.

As each student shares their visualization, students will be able to offer suggestions and/or corrections to their peers making sure the pictures they drew coincide with the passage read.



To assess the students' understanding of visualization, they will be asked to pick a passage from the story Ben's Trumpet.  Book talk: "This story is about a young boy named Ben who really wants to be a trumpeter! The only problem is that he plays on an imaginary trumpet. Find out what happens when one of the musicians in a neighborhood night club finds out about his ambition!" They will pick one part of this story and illustrate it. Make sure to include the page number of the passage you are illustrating. The illustration must include a detailed image, coincide to the text in the passage, and include a descriptive comment explaining what the student drew. They will also be asked comprehension questions to make sure they understood what they read.


Student drew a picture

Student identified page number of passage

Student's picture coincided accurately with passage

Student's picture was detailed

Student wrote description of picture

Questions: Why dd Ben want to play the trumpet?
How did he learn to play the trumpet?


Zingerding, 3 Blank Panels.

Isadora, Rachel. Ben's Trumpet. Greenwillow: New York, 1979.

Ellis, Alicia. Etch a Sketch to Stretch. Fall 2008.


Return to Projects Index.