Picture This!

to Learn

By: Lindsey Taylor



Rationale: The major goal in teaching reading is comprehension.  In order for students to be successful in reading comprehension, they must be able to visualize.  Visualization means that readers are constructing images in their heads as they read, in order to increase awareness of events that are taking place within the text.  The goal of this lesson is to help students practice visualizing as they read. This lesson will help students to create their own mental images which will enable them to become better readers.



-Food Fight poem by Kenn Nesbitt (one copy)

-Pansy P. Petunia poem by Kenn Nesbitt (enough copies for all students)

-2 pieces of white paper for each student




-Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (enough copies for all students)

-Visualization Checklist (for teachers use)-enough for each student




1. I will begin the lesson by discussing the importance of comprehension in the reading process. “Today we are going to talk about reading comprehension.  Comprehension is one of the most important aspects of reading and can make us successful readers.   Does anyone know what comprehension is? Well comprehension is being able to remember what we have read.  The more we comprehend the story, the easier it is for us to understand what is going on in the story and we will be able to recall information from it.

2. Next we will discuss how visualization helps make comprehension easier. I will say, “Visualizing is one way that will help us with comprehension.  If we can paint a picture in our minds of what is going on in a story, it will help the story come to life. Pictures have been in most of our books up until now, but what do we do if there are no pictures? We visualize and picture the story how we see it in our own minds.  Today we are going to practice constructing these mental images as we begin reading Hatchet.  We will also practice visualizing with two poems I have selected for you.

3. Now I will model the concept of visualization to the students.  “Boys and girls, I am going to read a poem called Food Fight by Kenn Nesbitt and as I read, I am going to model how I make mental pictures of what I think is going on in the poem.” I will read the poem to students.  Then say, “As I read this poem I thought of a big, chaotic lunchroom with kids running around everywhere.  I pictured all kinds of food flying through the air. I also pictures food all over the walls of the lunchroom. Now I am going to draw this picture I have in my head on the board, so that you can actually see how I pictured it.”  Now I will draw the scene I described on the board.  “Is this how you pictured the poem? How was it the same as your mental picture? How was it different than what you pictured?”  

4. Give children a copy of the poem “Pansy P. Petunia”. “Now I want you to try and paint a mental image of this poem. Let’s read it together and as we read I want you to picture where this poem takes place.  I want you to think about all the events that happen in this place.  Details are very important and will help us to understand what is going on more clearly, so try to think about all the little detail as we read.” Read poem aloud to students and pass out paper.  “Everyone should have a piece of paper in front of them.  On this sheet of paper I want you to draw what you thought the poem was about.  You should have markers and crayons in front of you so put as much detail as you can into your drawing to show what you pictured in your mind.” I will walk around and answer any questions the students may have.  I will then choose a few students to share their pictures with the class.

5. Hand a copy of Hatchet to each child and give a brief book talk. “You all are doing such a good job at using your visualization strategy that I think we should try something a little bit more difficult.  Here is a copy of the chapter book called Hatchet. This book is about a little boy named Brian who is thirteen.  Well Brian is from New York and he is flying to Canada to visit his father, but when he is on the way, the plane crashes into a lake in the Canadian woods.  Do you think Brian survived the plane crash? Do you think he’s ok? Well we are just going to have to read to find out!


6. Give students their assignment.  “For your assignment I want you to read chapter one silently to yourselves and as you read I want you to visualize the story. After reading chapter one, I want you to draw a very detailed picture of what you pictured in your mind while reading.  You have to really show me that you comprehended the text so as soon as you finish your drawing I want you to write a few sentences that explain your drawing.  Then turn in your papers as soon as you are finished”



      In order to assess the students, I will look at their visualization pictures and sentences describing their drawing to see if they truly comprehended the text.  I will use the following visualization check list to make sure they understood the main ideas in chapter one.


Visualization Checklist


-Does Brian seem happy or sad on his plane ride

and why do you think he feels this way?                        ______Y  _____N


-What causes the plane to crash?                                       ______Y  _____N


-What did Brian’s mother give him to use in

the woods?                                                                      _______Y  _____N       





Montgomery, Morgan “Seeing the Boxcar Children”



Nesbitt, Kenn. “Food Fight.”



Nesbitt, Kenn. “Pansy P. Petunia.”




Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Puffin Books, (1988).

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