Paint a Picture in Your Head

Visualizing While Reading

Mandy Fleming


 One strategy that readers can use to increase comprehension is visualization. Visualization is when readers make pictures in their heads about what they reading. This lesson is designed to help students increase comprehension through visualization. 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.  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.


A copy of Where the Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak. Pub. Harper Collins 1988

Class set Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith 1989. Pub. Putnam Juvenile

Colored Pencils

White Paper


1. Review silent reading with the students. Today we are going to talk about visualizing what we are reading, but first we have to review silent reading. What is silent reading? Silent reading is when we read to ourselves quietly and our mouths do not move.

2. I want everyone to put their heads on their desk, relax, close your eyes, and listen to me very closely.  Imagine your sitting outside and its very very hot.  the sun is so bright that you have to squint your eyes.  you are really thirsty and there is a cold glass filled with ice next to you.  what is in that glass?  your not alone either there are people with you.  who is with you?  you are all together having fun playing games in the bright sun shine.  what kid of games are you playing? Give them ample amount of time to imagine their pictures. I want everybody to open their eyes and we will talk about our visualizations.  Describe to your students what you see in your head so that they have an example of Visualization.   Visualization is when you imagine or see a picture in your head. It is important to visualize when you are reading to help you understand what is going on.

3. Read the story Where the Wild Things Are and hand out paper and pencils. I am going to read this story aloud to you but I am not going to show you any pictures. I want you to listen very closely to the words I am saying and try to paint a picture in your head of what you think is going on. Think about what Max looks like and what kind of things he is going to see on his adventure.. (read 8 pages) Ok, now I want you draw a picture on your paper. Think about the things you visualized in your head and draw that on paper. These visualizations are helping you understand the story by picturing the characters, places, and events in your mind!

4. Give everybody a copy of Chocolate Fever, a pencil and one piece of copy paper. Have the students to read chapter 1 of the books silently to themselves. After you have read chapter one (4 pages), then I want you to draw on your paper a picture of what you visualized. Write about your picture at the bottom of the page to help you remember what it is about. Pay close attention to adjectives. Remember that adjectives are describing words. These words will help you with your pictures. We will do this after each chapter. At the end of the book, we will have a visualization book or picture book of all the chapters. This lesson will have to be done over a course of a week.

5. Allow the students to finish their pictures for chapter 1. I want you to turn to a neighbor and I want you to talk about your visualizations. Compare and contrast them to see how they are the same and how they are different. Describe what words you used to create your picture and what things stuck out in your mind that made you draw the things you did. Collect the student's pictures and keep them so that at the end they can be put in a folder together for each student.

I would assess the students by looking at their pictures. I would make sure that their pictures match the story and that they are not making it up. 
Make sure students are using descriptive words and are able to rationalize the reasons they drew the things they drew.



 Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. Harper Collins 1988.

Smith, Robert Kimmel.  Chocolate Fever.  Putnam Juvenile.  1989.

Picture this! Katie Anderson

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