What Do You See?

 Reading to Learn Teaching Visualization

Kendra Haywood






In order for students to become successful readers, it is vital that they develop comprehension strategies and construct meaning from the text that they are reading.  One of the most effective comprehension strategies available for students to use is visualization.  Visualization is a strategy that involves the reader constructing pictures inside their mind based on the text they are reading.  When readers visualize a text, they are able to create a mental picture of the text, and thus make it more memorable and easy to understand.  In this lesson, students will learn to use visualization strategies to aid in their comprehension of the text.  They will practice constructing these visualizations while reading, and then will convey what they have learned through illustrations (their visualizations) and explanations of the text.



-Drawing Paper
-Colored pencils, Crayons, or Markers
-Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (individual copies for each student)
-Checklist for assessment

Could the student answer the following questions?



What did the fountain of youth look like?


How did Winnie meet the Tucks?


What was special about the water?



-Copy of the poem Food Fight by Kenn Nesbitt
-Copy of the poem I'm Staying Home from School Today by Kenn Nesbitt (individual copies for each student)



  1. Today, our lesson is going to be on comprehension.  Does anyone remember what comprehension means?  That's right!  Comprehension means to understand what you have read.  When we start reading chapter books, there aren't going to be any pictures in the book.  So it can be very hard sometimes to see the pictures in your head without getting clues or pictures.  To help us better understand the text, there are some comprehension strategies that we can use to assist us.
  2. There is a very helpful comprehension strategy that I use called visualization.  Visualization is being able to create images in your head about what you are reading without actually seeing the images on the book.  Today, we are going to comprehend a story by visualizing it.
  3. Today, I am going to read to you a poem called Food Fight.  As I'm reading this story, I am going to think about in my head what I think is going on by creating mental images.  (Read poem to the students)  Well when I was reading that poem I was visualizing a huge lunchroom with tons of children and teachers standing around with food all over them.  All the students were throwing food everywhere!  There was food all over the tables, floor, and wall!  The food was also all over the teachers and students.  To show you what I visualized, I am going to draw what I mentally saw in my head onto the board.  (I will draw the picture on the SmartBoard and ask the students if they were visualizing the same thing when I was reading the poem aloud)
  4. Now I am going to have you practice your comprehension by visualizing the next poem.  (I will hand each student a copy of the poem, I'm Staying Home from School Today.)  We are going to read this poem together.  As I read the poem aloud, I want you to read silently with me at your desk and I want you to visualize in your mind the events that are taking place.  (Read the poem to the class)  Now I want you to draw on your drawing paper what you visualized when we read this poem.  (Give time for students to draw their pictures)  Now that you are done drawing, does anyone want to share what they were visualizing during the story?  (Have a couple students come up to the front of the class and share their visualizations)
  5. Now that you are becoming experts with visualizations, we are going to start reading the book, Tuck Everlasting and I am going to have you read the first chapter in the book. (Pass out books to the students and give them a book talk before they begin reading).  Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Winnie who was very curious.  One day, she wandered out of her yard and into the woods behind her house where she came upon a family- The Tuck's.  The Tuck's were very unusual people because they drank from the fountain of youth and were guaranteed to live forever!  But, to Winnie's surprise, she was kidnapped by these kind people!  I wonder what will happen to her.  Will she drink from the fountain of youth, too?  It looks like you'll have to read to find out!  Now, I want you to read Chapter one of the book silently to yourselves, and while you are reading, use your visualization skills to help you comprehend what you have read.  When you finish reading Chapter One, take out your drawing paper and make an illustration of what you visualized in your head.  You may use your colored pencils, crayons, or markers.   After you finish your drawing, write a short statement describing what you have illustrated and how it represents the text you were visualizing.


Assessment:  I will assess the students' understanding of the text by looking at their illustrations and short statements.  I will also administer the comprehension checklist to each student to see if they comprehend the story. 


Babbitt, Natalie.  Tuck Everlasting.  Sunburst, 1975.


Lewis, Amy. Read It, Picture It!


Nesbitt, Kenn.  Food Fight!


Nesbitt, Kenn.  I'm Staying Home from school today


Smith, Leah. Picture It! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/smithrl.html

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