Picture Perfect

Reading to Learn Design

Mallie Frasier



When students read text, it is essential that they are able to comprehend it through various strategies. For better comprehension when reading, children should be able to visualize what they are reading. There is consistent evidence that visualization, or constructing images in the mind, smoothes the progress of children's learning of text. After visualizing material, it makes it easier to commit it to memory for later use.  In this lesson, children will learn how to and practice constructing images from their reading by drawing illustrations.


- Copies of the poem "Messy Room" by Shel Silverstein http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/shel_silverstein/poems/14818

- Copies of the poem "My New School" by Kenn Nesbitt  http://www.gigglepoetry.com/poem.aspx?PoemID=487&CategoryID=37

- 2 pieces of white paper for each student

- Crayons

- Copies of the chapter book Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt for each student

- Assessment checklist:
                Did the student draw a picture?                                              ___Y___N
                Were the drawings accurate for the poem?                          ___Y___N
                Were the drawings accurate for assigned reading(s)?        __Y___N
                Were the drawings detailed?                                                 ___Y___N       
                Did the student describe in detail the events?                     ___Y___N 
 (if some can't draw as well you can let students describe what they are picturing; it is important not to grade the level of the art work)


1) "First, we're going to review how to read a sentence with fluency." Write the sentence: Cam and Pat play all day long, on the board. "First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency. Cccaaammm and pppaatt ppplllaaaayyyy all dddaaayyy lllooonnnggg . Next, I am going to read the sentence with fluency. Cam... and... Pat...  play... all... day... long. Do you hear the difference between reading with and without fluency?" Read sentence again. "Cam and Pat play all day long."  This time I read the sentence with fluency. Remember, the more that you read the more fluent you will become

2) Explain to the class the importance of constructing images while reading. "When we create pictures in our heads about what we read, we are more likely to remember what we read and understand it better."

3) Model visualization for the students: "I am going to read the poem 'My New School' by Kenn Nesbitt aloud. As I read, I am going to picture in my mind what is going on." Read poem aloud to class. "Ok as I read, I pictured a person with many different talents like juggling and twisting balloons. I also saw a person with different color hair and big floppy shoes. Then, at the end, I found out that it was a clown! Now I am actually going to draw this picture on the board so that you can see what I was visualizing in my mind." Explain why you are drawing what you are drawing as you go. "Most of you probably pictured the scene a little differently in your head, because each one of us is unique. It is just important that you make some type of picture in your mind to help you understand and remember what you are reading."

4) Give each student a copy of "Messy Room" by Shel Silverstein. Say: "Remember how we learned to read silently? I want you guys to be doing that while I read this poem aloud". Read it once to the class aloud and then have the students read the poem silently.

5) Instruct the students to draw the image that they have in their head onto their papers as best they can. Have students quietly discuss with their neighbor what they see or picture in their minds and share their drawing. After a few minutes, ask for volunteers to share what they imagined the messy room looked like.

6) "You are doing a great job visualizing the poems that we have read! Now we are going to move on to a chapter book that does not have any pictures: Tuck Everlasting." Give book talk: "Tuck Everlasting is about a young girl who one day runs away from home. She finds herself lost in the woods and extremely thirsty. She sees a small stream of water and decides to take a drink. Suddenly she hears a boy yelling, telling her not to drink the water. Who was this strange boy and why can't she drink the water? Let's read this story to find out!"

7) "Today, I want you to read chapter one silently. As you read, use your visualization strategy to help you comprehend the story. It is important to picture what is happening as you read to help you remember and understand the text."

8) After they read chapter one, have the students draw on a piece of paper what they visualized as they read. Also write a short description of what they drew and why, which shows comprephension.

9) I will assess students comprehension by their drawings from chapter one as well as their written descriptions of their drawing. (i.e. Did it accurately depict a scene from chapter one? Is there attention to detail? etc.) And ask questions about the text (i.e. How would you feel if you were in Wenny's situation?)




- Babbitt, N. (1975). Tuck Everlasting.

-Nesbitt, Kenn. "My New School". http://www.gigglepoetry.com/poem.aspx?PoemID=487&CategoryID=37

-Silverstein, Shel. "Messy Room". http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/shel_silverstein/poems/14818

-Cabray Rauschenberg. " Click! Creating a Picture From the Text" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/rauschenbergrl.html

Marguerite DeWitt. "Visualization is Picture Perfect" -http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/dewittrl.html


Return to the Realization index.