What the Research Says
“Why do things look so differently when you look at them through your spy glass?”
“When my mom and I read Charlotte’s Web, I could really picture the web with the words woven into it hanging in our barn. I could also picture how Fern felt when she thought Wilbur was going to be killed. I would have screamed.”
“When my teacher read Hatchet to us last year, I could really picture the scene when Brian goes down in the airplane just like I was sitting in the front seat. The author really makes you feel like you’re there with him”
“When we were little, my mom would read to us and not let us see the pictures. I always liked how I pictured things better anyway.”
Here are a few activities you might use to help students use their senses to practice visualizing:
2. Dip cotton balls in liquids such as suntan lotion, lemon juice, and mouthwash, and let students smell them. Turn and talk with partners about what you think about when you smell them.
3. Use touch bags with mystery objects and have students draw what they think is inside.
4. Use magazines and locate photos that show various topics and emotions.
5. Listen to an audio book and draw what you hear.
6. Play audio clips of everyday sounds and have students share what images they picture.
Mentor Texts for Visualizing
I have a few favorite books for visualizing, and the best choices have specific characteristics. First, they include an engaging plot. There has to be action that draws the reader in. Another feature for visualizing is word choice. The author must use lots of description including adjectives and action verbs. Finally, for readers to visualizing, there needs to be specific scenes within the story that contribute to the overall themes of the book.
These titles are just a starting point. For additional titles, google visualizing mentor texts. You can find great titles that hit all seasons of the year or topics.
I will close with sharing a graphic organizer I developed for my students to use in monitoring their reading. I have them record the text information that helps them picture the information on the left side, and depending on your students, you can have them draw or describe what they visualize on the right.
I hope this helps your students more easily make mental pictures. After all, making meaning is the purpose of reading. Have a great weekend!