Reading Your Way to Another World


Reading to Learn: Visualization

Caroline Hiskey


I.        Rationale: Comprehension is the final step in becoming a good reader. Good readers have mastered decoding and can read with speed and fluency.  They have learned to read, and are moving into the process of reading to learn. To facilitate comprehension, it is important to equip students with comprehension strategies such as summarization, visualization, story grammar, question generation, and question-answer relationships.  This lesson focuses on visualization.  Visualization takes readers to another world by connecting them to the characters, setting, and the plot more thoroughly.  The activities are designed to help students learn to visualize and see stories in their heads as they read.

II.      Materials:

·         Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (class set)

·         Sheets of white paper

·         Crayons/Colored Pencils

·         Assessment Checklist


III.   Procedures:

1.     Introduction – Say: Today, we are going to practice using our minds to take us into the world of the book we are reading.  We can do this with visualization.  Who can tell me what visualization means? That’s right, it means that while we read a story, we picture what is happening in our minds.  When we do this, it helps us understand what is going on in the story, and helps us really see the characters and settings where the action takes place.  Now that we are reading books without pictures on every page, we can use visualization to create pictures in our minds. 

2.     Say: First, I will do an example with you.  As I say this sentence, I am going to visualize the scene and draw it on the board while you draw it on your paper.  “A girl walked through a beautiful green meadow, picking flowers in the bright spring sunshine.”  What did you draw? How did you know to draw this, even though you might not have been to a meadow before?

3.     Booktalk - Say: Today we are going to begin reading Tuck Everlasting.  Winnie is an adventurous girl who is not content to sit in her yard all summer. One day, she hears music coming from the woods across the street and decides to investigate.  When she gets thirsty and starts to drink from a spring, a boy pops out and tells her not to! Will she listen? This little spring leads to all sorts of adventures.

4.     Vocabulary – Before we start reading, I want to go over a few difficult vocabulary words that you may see while reading: forlorn, peculiar, and ordeal.

                                                              i.       First, I will explain forlorn.  Forlorn means pitiful or sorrowful.

                                                           ii.      The example from the book is, “ Winnie watched as Will’s face turned forlorn.”

                                                         iii.      Who is forlorn, a cheerleader or a person at a funeral?

                                                         iv.      Finish this sentence: I was forlorn because ________.

                                                            v.      Next, we will go over peculiar. Peculiar  means odd or out of the ordinary.

                                                         vi.      The example from the book is, “The peculiar frog stared at Winnie for a moment, then hopped across the road.”

                                                       vii.      Which is peculiar, a teacher or a clown?

                                                    viii.      Finish this sentence: The movie was peculiar because ________.

                                                          ix.      Now, I will explain ordeal.  Ordeal means a severely difficult experience.

                                                            x.      The example from the book is, “”Winnie, you must have gone through a terrible ordeal!””

                                                          xi.      Which is an ordeal, a chore or a videogame?

                                                       xii.      Finish this sentence: School was an ordeal today because _____.

5.     Modeling – Say: I want you all to close your eyes and listen carefully while I model how to visualize while reading.  I am going to read a section out of our book and draw pictures on the board of what I am seeing in my mind.  (Read the first page to the class) Now open your eyes.  This is what I was imagining while I read the first page. 


6.     Practice – Say: Now it’s your turn.  I am going to finish reading aloud the first chapter of Tuck Everlasting.  While I am reading, I want you to follow along and picture the world of the book in your head. When I finish, I want everyone to draw pictures of what they saw in their head while I was reading.  Then we can share our pictures to see if we imagined the same world.


7.     While reading, stop and point out especially descriptive sentences or passages and tell students what you personally are picturing at the moment.

8.     Say:  You all did a great job visualizing the story world both in your head and on paper.  Now that you have had some practice, I want you to read the second chapter silently and then draw another picture of what happened in that chapter. Write a short description under your picture so we know which scene you are illustrating.


9.     Assessment: I will check the students’ comprehension by looking at their drawings and sentences.  I will use the following chart:

Student’s illustration accurately reflects a passage from the chapter.



Student is able to explain their drawing and the part of the story it represents.



Student’s description demonstrates a clear understanding between the statement and the illustration that pertains to a passage from the chapter.



Student includes characters from the chapter in his/her illustration.





1.      Babbitt, Natalie.  Tuck everlasting. New York: Farrar, Stravs, Giroux, 1975.

2.      Russell, Jennifer. “Mind Reading.”


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