Picture That!!

Reading to Learn through Visualization

By: Sarah Drawdy

Rationale: When students read fluently, they can start reading to learn. In order to do this though, they need to be taught strategies to help them better comprehend a text. When students are able to visualize a text, they are able to better monitor their reading which makes comprehension easier. Skilled readers visualize by picturing the story in their head like a movie. In this lesson, students will practice doing this by reading a passage of a book and visualizing what the words mean.

Materials: Esperanza Rising (copies for each student), pencils, art supplies for the visualization drawing, blank sheet of paper for each student, and a lined sheet of paper for each student.



1)     Say: "Sometimes when we're reading, it's hard to understand what's happening in a story. But if we use our imagination to paint a picture of the story in our mind, it's easier to follow along with a story and understand what it's about. This is called visualizing. Visualizing can help us make the story seem more real, and can help us remember the story that we read. Today we are going to be practicing visualizing. First I am going to show you how I do it, and then I'm going to let you read with a partner and visualize the story together."


2)     Say: Ok, let me show you how I visualize when I read. What I am about to read to you is a great paragraph from the book we are going to read later called Esperanza Rising[Read first section of text. After reading, close your eyes and explain to students what you see.] I see a cluster of grapes on a vine that look very delicious and ready to be cut down. I also see the little girls mom, who is tall and nice looking with braided hair. Then, I see her father who is only a little taller than the mother and with a gray mustache. I also see that he signals to his daughter to cut down the delicious grapes from the vine. Then, I see her swiftly cut down the grapes from the vine and they fall into her hands.  See how easy that was? Now, let's have you try!


3)     Say: "Now let's do the next section together. I'm going to read the next part to you, and I want you to listen to what I am reading, and add you movie in your head of what is happening. When I finish, I'm going to ask for some volunteers to share, so listen carefully. Go ahead and close your eyes so you can really see the story. [Read another section of the text.] Now I want you to close your eyes and add some more details to the picture that's in your head. What are some of the things that you are seeing? Is there a movie playing in your head of what is happening? Would anyone like to share what they saw in their head when I was reading? Great! That was awesome visualization!"


4)     Say: "Now I think it's time for you to describe what you saw in a few sentences! Let's take out a sheet of paper and write a few sentences about what you saw while I was reading. If I was doing this activity, I would write something like "the grapes were very plump and Esperanza cut them down in one swift cut!" and then I would add a few sentences to that. So, let's try that now. Everyone write a few sentences about what they saw when I read the paragraph. Great job!"



5)     Say: "Now, I want each of you to get out your books and read the next five pages of the book. Over the next five pages something very sad will happen in this little girls family. It will be something that will shape her life forever. You have to read the rest of this chapter (or next five pages) in order to find out what exactly happens. Then, I want you to get with a partner and discuss what you saw while you were reading. "



6)    Say: "After you have finished the discussion, I want you to draw a picture of what you saw while you were reading. After you draw your picture, I want you each to write as much detail that you can remember about your drawing and what you remember from the story. You may look back at those five pages if you really need help, but you should be able to do this without any help at all. "


Assessment Checklist:


_________ Did student draw a picture? (2)

_________ Does the picture relate to the chapter? (1)

_________ Does the picture depict what was read in the chapter? (2)

_________ Did the student include a description?(2)

_________ Does the description show comprehension of the chapter?(2)




 Visualization Movie Magic by Maegan Dennis http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/dennisrl.htm


Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. Scholastic Inc. New York, New York. 2000.

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