Visualize Without Your Eyes




Reading Strategy

Heather Henley



Many successful readers are able to read a story and create a mental movie in their head. This mental movie helps them imagine what is happening during the story. Being able to visualize strengthens the student’s comprehension of the text and helps them enjoy reading more. Through this lesson students will be introduced to visualizing and will be given tools that will help them visualize.



Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Plain paper for each student

Crayons, markers, for each student



1. Explain why it is important: Ask students to raise their hand if they ever picture things in their head while they are reading. Say: “Why do we do that? Does it help us understand the story better? How can I picture something if I don’t see it with my eyes? We picture things by listening, and seeing how a text reaches our 5 senses. While we are reading, we can all be picturing something different, but it helps us understand the story in the same way.”


2. Explain how to do it: Say: “When we are reading we have to have all of our focus on the book so that we can really understand what the text is saying. While listening, begin to see in your mind what is happening. For example, if I read “The boy chased after the animal,” what would you see in your mind? Right, a boy chasing after an animal.”


3. Model: Say: “While I was reading a book, I came across the words; "That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around." While I read this I pictured a bed turning into grass, the walls turning into trees, and vies coming down from the ceiling (draw picture on board). This way I can better understand what it is like for Max.”


4. Introduce the text: Say: “The book we are going to read today is called Where the Wild Things Are. In this book Max is looking for a little fun, so he dresses up in a comical wolf suit. Unfortunately, his mother is tired of his antics, and sends him to bed without any supper. But unexpectedly a forest grows in his bedroom and Max is taken away to a land of Wild Things. What will happen while Max is at this land?”


5. Introduce Vocab: say: “Before we read we are going to learn a few vocabulary words that are in this book.” Gnashed, rumpus, mischief

Gnash means to rub your teeth together really hard. What's an example of gnash? Some people gnash their teeth when they sleep. Fill in the blank: Your mom will tell you not to _________ your teeth.

Mischief is naughty behavior. What's an example of mischief? The teacher told her students she didn't want any mischief. Fill in the blank: You never get into __________, do you?

A rumpus is a wild party or disturbance. What's an example of rumpus? The family had a special room in their house just for when the children wanted a rumpus. Fill in the blank: If you cause a rumpus, the neighbors might ask you to quiet down.

6. Practice: Say: “Now that we have learned how to visualize and we have learned some vocabulary, we can start to read our book! While I am reading I want you to visualize what is happening. After some of the pages I will ask you to draw what you are visualizing. Let’s practice one more time. “And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.” While I read that, what did you see? (Have students raise their hands and share). Right, I saw monsters that were very scary.” Now that we have done the first few pages together, I want you to finish reading the book and draw a picture of what you are visualizing after each page.

7. Assess: Say: “While you are reading I want you to make sure you are visualizing. After a each page you will stop and draw what you see in your head. We will do that many times. After we finish you will turn those drawings into me. You will turn this in and I will grade your work based on completion and if I can tell you comprehend the story. Any questions?”


Where The Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak, Harpercollins     Childrens books, 1993

Education World, Opening the Door: Teaching Students Visualizing to Improve Comprehension.


Lights! Camera! Imagination! By Elizabeth Bryant, found on Reading Genie website.

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