CTRD 3710: See in Your Mind’s Eyes! - Reading to Learn through Visualization

See in Your Mind’s Eyes!

Reading to Learn through Visualization

Anna Kochenour


Rationale: When students begin to read fluently they transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." In order for students to be most successful at extracting messages from a text they need to be taught comprehension strategies explicitly. According to research, one of the most effective reading comprehension strategies is visualization. Visualization is the ability to imagine, picture, or visualize what you are reading in a text. Visualization helps students monitor their reading and enables them to better comprehend and retain the text they are reading. Normally it is easier to remember images or pictures opposed to just plain words. In this lesson, students will be explicitly taught visualization through my modeling of this strategy, guided independent practice of this strategy, and partner practice. They will also be given opportunities to practice visualization by reading a passage of a book and visualizing the text within their imagination.



  • Esperanza Rising (copies for each student and teacher)
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • blank sheet of paper for each student
  • lined sheet of paper for each student
  • copies "Visualizing Assessment Checklist"



1)     Say: "Sometimes when you are reading it can be hard to understand or remember what is happening in the text. Our imagination is a great tool that we can tap into in order to help us better comprehend what we read. We can use our imagination to paint a picture of any story or information in our mind. It is easier to follow a story, monitor your reading, and understand what you read when you visualize. Research has proven this! Today in our lesson we are going to practice visualization. First I am going to show you how I use visualization, and then I am going to give you the opportunity to practice visualization for yourself! We need to exercise our imagination! Before we begin there are a few words I would like to share with you all.

a.    Our first word is congregate. To congregate means to assemble or gather together

             i.    A sentence that properly uses this word would be: In order to have a meeting about the wedding the family     congregated.

b.   Our second word is horizon. The horizon is the line where the sky meets the earth.

 i.    A sentence that properly uses this word would be: When the girl looked out over the field she saw the horizon, to her it looked like the sky was kissing the earth.

c.   The last vocab word for this lesson is adobe. An adobe is a brick of sun-dried earth. 

                                         i.    A sentence that properly uses this word is: The people worked hard with mud and clay to make adobes that would be used to build a house.

2)    Say: "Now I am going to show you how I visualize when I am reading! I am going to read a great paragraph to you from the book Esperanza Rising! This is one of my very favorite books." [I will read pages 4, 5, and the first paragraph on page 6]  After reading this section out loud to them I will have all the students close their eyes, and I will paint for them the image my brilliant imagination has created as I have read. 'I see a bright and beautiful countryside. I feel warmth, safety, and happiness in the air. Inside I have an excited feeling knowing that there is a harvest ready to pick! I see big lush and juicy looking grapes waiting for me to pick them. I see a loving father and mother off in the distant smiling at me as they encourage me to pick the harvest. I imagine the thrill of leaning over to pick the green grapes. My mouth is watering because I am so excited about the taste of grapes to be had in my mouth. I imagine warm colors, warm faces, and a warm feeling.' Do you see how easy that was? You can do this with anything you read! Now it is your turn to give it a try!"

3)     Say: "We are going to visualize this next section together. As I read this passage out loud to you I want you to close your eyes and create a picture in your mind of what is happening in the text. When I finish reading I am going to ask a few volunteers to share with the class what they have imagined in their mind, what they have "visualized"! Now close your eyes and exercise your imagination as I read aloud to you. [I will read the second and third paragraph on page 6.] I will ask some students to share with the class the following things: What are some things you are seeing? Did you have a ''movie-like" scene playing in your mind as we read? I will allow children to share their experience with visualization. Great job! You guys are getting good at it! It is as easy as imagination!"

4)    Say: "On the blank piece of paper that I am giving you I want you to go put words to what you visualized in your mind as we read that last passage. I want you to write what you saw, smelled, touched, and experienced in your imagination as we read this text. In doing this you are practicing a great comprehension strategy. You are remembering the content you read in the text and you are really receiving the message from within the text. You are doing all of this by simply visualizing as you read! Great job!"

5)    Say: "Now it is time for you to practice this strategy independently! The rest of this chapter has some great scenes of Esperanza's enjoyment of the farm and her dad, but something life-changing is going to happen at the end of this chapter. We need to read to find out what tragic event is about to change Esperanza's life forever.  I want you to practice your best fluent reading, and as you read I want you to try practicing visualization. I want you to imagine that you are Esperanza or that you are there with her. Jump into the story with your imagination and try to visualize these next few scenes. When you are finished with the rest of this chapter I want you to write a few sentences summarizing what you saw. In these sentences (3-7 sentences) I want you to use as many descriptive words as you can in an effort to explain and express what you visualized. I also want you to draw of picture of what you saw as you read."

6)    Say: "After you have done this, you can share with your 'shoulder buddy' your picture, and the two of you can compare your images and descriptions. You might notice, that even though you both read the same passage, the pictures you have painted in your minds may be a little different. Use our "Visualizing Assessment Checklist' to assess each other's visualization practice. One of the great things about visualization is that everyone visualizes things differently! That is one of the beauties of reading; we all have slightly different experiences as we read and visualize. This makes reading exciting and personal!"

7)    Say: "Now that you know how to visualize, I want you all to continue practicing and exercising this strategy! This strategy is going to help you really understand what you are reading. When you visualize as you read you feel as though you are a part of what is happening in the book, and the images you create in your mind will be retained longer than plain words. Keep up the great practice! Visualization will become one of your best friends as you continue to grow as a life-long reader!"


Assessment: Each shoulder buddy will use this assessment checklist to grade each other on effective visualization in procedure #6. Each student will also independently answer the two reading comprehension questions in order for me to assess their reading comprehension.


Visualizing Assessment Checklist:

 ____________ Did your buddy draw a picture?

____________ Does the picture illustrate the events in this chapter?

____________ Does the picture activate your senses?

____________ Does your buddy include a written description of their visualization image?

____________ Does the description and picture demonstrate comprehension of the chapter?


Each student will independently complete a paragraph in response to the following questions to assess their reading comprehension:

How does Esperanza respond to the devastating news about her father's death?

How do you think this tragedy will affect Esperanza's life?



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