Mind Reading

 Reading to Learn

Jennifer Russell

Rationale: Visualization is a comprehension skill in which students use their imaginations to visualize a text. Once students begin reading chapter books without illustrations, it is important use visualization to aid in comprehending stories. Visualization takes comprehension to another level. They will be able to understand the settings, characters, and plot more thoroughly by practicing visualization. I will model visualization and they will practice drawing their visualizations and connecting it to the story.


Class set of Sarah, Plain and Tall

White paper

Crayons/colored pencils/pencils

A ssessment Checklist


1. Introduction “We are going to practice using our minds to understand the stories we read. We can do that with visualizing what we read. What might visualization mean? Yes, it means we can read a story and picture what is happening in our minds. When we do that, it helps us understand what is going on in the story and also helps us see the characters and places or settings. When we have books without pictures, it is especially important because you can just create your own illustrations in your minds.”

2. Modeling “I am going to model how we can visualize text. I am going to read a section out of our book and I will draw it on the board as I read. I want you to close your eyes and listen to me read and then draw what you imagined. What I visualize may be different from what you visualize. That is okay because our imaginations work differently. Let’s start. ‘Sarah and Maggie helped hitch the horses to the plow, then they set up a big table in the shade of the barn, covering it with a quilt and a kettle of flowers in the middle.’ I pictured the table with the quilt and the flowers as described in this sentence so I drew a table beside the barn with a quilt and flowers in a kettle in the middle of the table. I have seen barns before so I drew from what I knew. I also know what a kettle looks like, so I drew it like this. I am going to come around and take a look at yours. Why did you draw that? Did you imagine the picture you drew in your mind before you drew it?”

3. Book Talk  “The book we are going to work with today is Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. Anna and Caleb are children who live with their Papa. Their mother passed away so Papa is lonely. Papa puts an ad in a newspaper for a wife, and Sarah answers by writing letters. Sarah lives far away by the sea, and Anna and Caleb are hoping she will come be their new mother. Will she travel to take care of them? Will Anna and Caleb get a new mother?”

4. Vocabulary  “There are a few words you may have never heard before. Because this story takes place in the past, we don’t usually hear these words used anymore. We are going to learn these words so that you can make sense of what you read. Here are the words: hearthstones, homely, plains.

First, I will discuss hearthstones. A hearthstone is the bottom of a fireplace, which is usually made out of rock or brick.

Here is an example of the word in our book. ‘It made a hollow scraping sound on the hearthstones, and the dogs stirred.’

Would you find a hearthstone in your living room or in your bathroom?

Now I want you to complete a sentence using hearthstone. ‘When I touched the hearthstone, I ___________________.’”

[Repeat vocabulary instruction with remaining words]

5. Visualization Practice Now we are ready to read and practice visualizing. Remember, we picture what we read in our minds to help us understand the story. I want you to read Chapter 1. As you read, picture in your mind the house they live in, what the characters look like, and other things described in the story. After you finish, think about something you had a great image of in your mind. I want you to draw it and then write a sentence from the book describing what you visualized. So if I read, ‘I held the bread dough up in a round ball’, I am going to draw a hand holding up a round ball of dough, and then I am going to write that sentence. Okay, let’s start!

6.   Assessment  I will assess the students’ ability to visualize text by examining their drawings and sentences using the following checklist. I will also ask some comprehension questions from chapter one.

   Student draws a representation of a scene from the book ____

   Sentence describes the scene from the book using a sentence excerpt____

   Student orally connects the representation with the sentence excerpt ____


Adams, Kelley.  Creative Minds. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/adamskrl.htm

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers (1985)

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