Visualizing

Author: Nicole
Lesssoncast
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Introduction

Have you ever had a student zone out while reading and wonder to himself, “Where am I? What did I just read?" Well, visualizing can help. It’s a powerful strategy for making mental images while you read.

Procedure

To introduce the strategy, explain to students that visualizing is picturing details from the text to increase understanding. Begin with a brief read aloud. Have students close their eyes and picture what’s happening in the reading with as many details as they can. Then have students talk about what they visualized. Then explain that you are going to do a quick sketch of what you visualized. Making your sketch unpolished will help emphasize for your students that they should work quickly and not concern themselves with artistic quality. To build the connection between visual details and higher-level meaning, ask questions to draw out the students’ interpretation of the picture. Then share your interpretation. Model how visual details connect with key concepts and themes. Reinforce how specific details support larger ideas. {Why did I draw this picture? What does it mean? What details are important? What does this show about the subject, character, main idea, theme, etc.?} Next, move to guided practice. Read aloud another passage and allow students to sketch their interpretation while listening. In pairs or groups of three, have students take turns sharing their pictures and having the group members offer their interpretations. Students should not explain their own pictures until all other group members have commented. As a whole group, discuss how visualizing helps them understand the text. {How did visualizing help them understand the text? Did the interpretations vary? How does reading differ when they do not visualize versus when they do?} For independent practice, allow students to sketch while reading and answering comprehension questions. Require students to cite the text to support their answer. You may even ask them to include quotes from the text on their drawings. {What does this description tell us about the character or subject? What type of mood do the visual details create? Based on the visual details, what predictions or inferences can be made?}

Procedure 2

Then explain that you are going to do a quick sketch of what you visualized. Making your sketch unpolished will help emphasize for your students that they should work quickly and not concern themselves with artistic quality.

Procedure 3

To build the connection between visual details and higher-level meaning, ask questions to draw out the students’ interpretation of the picture. Then share your interpretation. Model how visual details connect with key concepts and themes. Reinforce how specific details support larger ideas. {Why did I draw this picture? What does it mean? What details are important? What does this show about the subject, character, main idea, theme, etc.?}

Procedure 4

Next, move to guided practice. Read aloud another passage and allow students to sketch their interpretation while listening. In pairs or groups of three, have students take turns sharing their pictures and having the group members offer their interpretations. Students should not explain their own pictures until all other group members have commented. As a whole group, discuss how visualizing helps them understand the text. {How did visualizing help them understand the text? Did the interpretations vary? How does reading differ when they do not visualize versus when they do?}

Procedure 5

For independent practice, allow students to sketch while reading and answering comprehension questions. Require students to cite the text to support their answer. You may even ask them to include quotes from the text on their drawings. {What does this description tell us about the character or subject? What type of mood do the visual details create? Based on the visual details, what predictions or inferences can be made?}

Differentiation

Sketch to stretch templates can vary from a blank page to a story strip or sequence chain. Choose the format that best meets the conceptual needs of the lesson. Some students may need portions of the graphic organizer filled in to help them get started.

Interdisciplinary

Visualization can aid comprehension in other content areas. For social studies, students can picture historical contexts and make stronger connections. In science, sketching a concept like photosynthesis or diagramming a cell helps students to see how all of the details fit together.

Closing

There are many other ways to incorporate visualization, but remember it’s not about drawing a pretty picture. The purpose is to connect words on the page with higher levels of meaning. By creating mental images, students can better comprehend, remember and analyze what they read.

Attachments

Grades

  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Key Skills

  • Informational Text (Integration of Ideas)
  • Synthesis
  • Literature (Integration of Ideas)
  • Synthesis
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Visualize

Standards

  • Literacy.RI.4.1
  • Literacy.RI.5.1
  • Literacy.RI.6.1
  • Literacy.RI.7.1
  • Literacy.RI.8.1
  • Literacy.RL.4.7
  • Literacy.RL.5.7
  • Literacy.RL.6.1
  • Literacy.RL.6.7
  • Literacy.RL.7.1
  • Literacy.RL.7.7
  • Literacy.RL.8.1

Assessments

How does visualizing help readers understand text? Based on the visual details, what predictions or inferences can be made? What does the visual description show about the subject, character, main idea, theme, etc.?

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