Vividly Visualizing

 

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Jessica Taff

Rationale: The primary goal in reading is comprehension, or understanding what was read. In order to better comprehend a text, we as readers can use strategies, such as visualizing, in order to truly understand the text. Visualization is an excellent way for readers to make connections between text ideas and their own background knowledge. It should be our goal to teach readers how to generate representational images. This lesson will facilitate young readers in monitoring their reading comprehension by generating mental images as they read.

Materials:

- Whiteboard/ colored markers

- White computer paper (one sheet for each student)

-Crayons/markers/colored pencils (for each student)

- Teacher copy of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

- Student copies of The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett (one per student)

- Strip of paper with a description of a beach written on it: "One morning in June, I walked out of my beach house and saw a beautiful, shimmering ocean, filled with leaping porpoises. I looked up and saw the sun shining bright, not a cloud in sight. In the distance, I saw a flock of seagulls soaring into the distance. I breathed the fresh, salty air and felt the wind brush up against my body. As time passed, I witnessed the beach bums arrive with their chairs, umbrellas, and coolers. Kids began to run and play, throwing beach balls, and building sand castles. As I walked back inside, I could see the reflection of the sparkling ocean reflecting off of my glass door."

Procedures:

1. Say: Well hello boys and girls! Get excited because today we are going to learn a new strategy that we can use while we read. Does anybody know what visualization means? (Wait for responses). Right! When we visualize while we read, we are creating mental images in our heads of what the text is about. So basically, we are making mental movies while we read: we are transforming the words that we read into detailed images. Visualizing helps us understand what the text is really about and improves our comprehension. Whether you know it or not, you have probably visualized something at some point in your life. For example, I want you to close your eyes think about your favorite animal. Now visualize it: think about what it looks like, its color, its size, and any special physical features it may have. (Give the students a few minutes to visualize). Open your eyes. Congratulations! You all just visualized something! This is what we are going to work on today, but instead, we are going to read texts, and visualize what is happening while we read.

2. Say: Before we get started, I want to show you the proper way to visualize. I have some sentences written down on this sheet of paper, and as I read them, I want you to make your own visualizations in your mind while I draw my visualizations on the board. It is okay if we have different visualizations because we all have different imaginations. Ready? Here I go. (Read the following sentences aloud to the class using great expression and fluency: "One morning in June, I walked out of my beach house and saw a beautiful, shimmering ocean, filled with leaping porpoises. I looked up and saw the sun shining bright, not a cloud in sight. In the distance, I saw a flock of seagulls soaring into the distance. I breathed the fresh, salty air and felt the wind brush up against my body. As time passed, I witnessed the beach bums arrive with their chairs, umbrellas, and coolers. Kids began to run and play, throwing beach balls, and building sand castles. As I walked back inside, I could see the reflection of the sparkling ocean reflecting off of my glass door."). I don't know about you, but I visualized many things while I was reading that. So, let's start from the beginning. (Here, the teacher will read each individual sentence and draw a visual that represents each sentence). So, for the first sentence, I saw a picture the ocean with the sun shining down on it. I also saw porpoises (dolphins) jumping around (Draw a picture of the ocean with dolphins jumping out of the water on the board). Is this what you visualized? We might have had different ideas, but we all knew that there was a unifying theme: the beach (Do the same thing for the rest of the sentences). While I was reading, I could clearly see images of the beach What I was doing as I read those sentences aloud and drew pictures about them was visualizing, and by doing this, I was better able to understand the meaning of that passage.

3. Say: Now it is your turn to visualize from a text. I am going to read a short excerpt from a very famous book Charlotte's Web. As I read, I want you to create mental images and really visualize this scene in your head. Think about what the characters look like, the setting, and any surroundings. If you need to, you are more than welcome to take notes so that you can remember specific details of the passage; however, I do not want you to draw a picture just yet. We are just going to discuss what you visualized. Everyone ready? Ok here we go: "The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay......It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows......It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in." (Give students a few minutes to gather their thoughts). Ok, what did everyone see? (Call on students and have them discuss their visualizations). Wow, I am very impressed at how well everyone is starting to visualize. 

4. Say: Since you are all doing such a great job with visualizing, I think it is time to do some independent practice. But before we start, I want to introduce you to a new book we will be reading called The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett. This story is about a young girl named Mary. She is a sassy, rude, and selfish 10-year old who lives in India. When she was born, her parents were very poor and wanted nothing to do with her, so she was pretty much raised by servants. However, one day a sickness broke out and killed both of her parents, so she was forced to move to England to live with her uncle. At his house, the servant Martha tells Mary of a story in which a woman many years ago spent much of her time planting roses in this garden. However, when she died, her husband locked away the key to the garden, and no one has been able to find the key since then. This sparks Mary's interest and she begins to go on an adventure. What do you think is going to happen? I guess we will have to read to find out.

5. Say: Now that we have an idea of what our story will be about, we are ready to start silently reading. Today at your desk, I want you to read the very first chapter of this book, and while you read, I want you to focus on visualizing throughout the text: the characters, the setting, etc. If you need to take notes as you read, please feel free to do so. Once you have finished reading the first chapter and have visualized it thoroughly, you are going to take a sheet of computer paper, and using your markers/crayons/colored pencils, you are going to draw a detailed picture of what you visualized while reading. This will be going for a grade, so I really want you to focus on what you read, and work hard to create a detailed and elaborate drawing. Once you have completed your drawing, you will write one or two detailed sentences explaining what your picture is about. We will share some of these to the class once everyone is finished with the assignment.

Assessment:

The teacher will refer to the students' drawings of The Secret Garden. She will use the following rubric to grade students' work. She will grade each drawing according to the rubric which is out of 10 total points:

_____ Did the student draw a picture? (2)

_____Does the picture relate to the chapter? (2)

_____ Does the picture accurately depict what the chapter was about? (2)

_____ Did the student include a detailed description? (2)

_____ Do the description and illustration show comprehension of the chapter? (2)

The teacher will also assess the students' understanding of the first chapter in the book based on their completion of the following questions:

Comprehension Questions:

1.    Write 3 descriptive sentences describing Mary's character.

2.    What kind of sickness takes over the city?

3.    How do you think Mary is feeling in her new house?

4.    In one paragraph, give a detailed summary of what you read in the first chapter.

 

References:

Yancey, Noie. "Reading in the Wilderness." http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/yanceyrl.htm

Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words. Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus, 2012.

White, E.B. Charlotte's Web: Harper Collins Publishers, 1952.

Burnett, Frances. The Secret Garden, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1962.

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