Picture This!!

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

By: Katie Chadwick

camera pic for LD.jpg



Although students start out learning to read, they will eventually have to be able to read to learn. It is important to give students the techniques that they need to perform in order to have good comprehension when they read. Children will learn to picture--or 'visualize'--in their heads. Once they have learned to picture what they read, they are also able to comprehend what they read by remembering the pictures that they visualized in their heads. They can change their picture based on what they pick up throughout reading until their visualizations correctly portray the meaning of the word. We will read a book together, and the students will visualize and draw their thoughts to practice. Once they have had some good practice, they should be able to picture words without having to draw out their thoughts on paper.





Blank white paper (2 sheets per child)

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff (one copy per child)



1. "Today we are going to learn how to visualize something while we are reading.  Who can tell me what visualize means?"  Allow children time to respond.  "That's right, to visualize something means to see it in your mind--to picture it--even   though it's really not there.  I'm sure everyone has visualized something before.  Let's do a little bit of practice. I want everyone to close your eyes and put your head down on your desk. Now I want each of you to picture a big piece of chocolate cake. Listen as I read, and try to visualize what I describe.

Read: "You come in the door after a long day of school and you are so hungry. As soon as the door opens you smell the best smell in the whole world: your mom's special double chocolate cake. And best of all, there is a piece on the counter waiting just for you! You race over to the counter and sink your fork into the rich creamy chocolate. As you place it in your mouth, it's warm richness melts in your mouth and the warm bite slides down your throat making it feel all warm inside.

2. Allow time for the students to visualize this. Pass out blank sheets of paper and crayons and have each child draw a picture of what they saw in their minds as I was reading.

3. Before reading, go over a new vocabulary word with the students that they will encounter in the text. Say: "Okay, students, I want to go over a new vocabulary word that you will see in the book we are about to read. The word is 'notice.' Does anyone know what 'notice' means? It means to become aware of, or to see. You may walk into the pantry and NOTICE that your mom has bought a new bag of your favorite cookies. You SEE the bag of cookies--you NOTICE that it is there. What's something else you might notice? Can you think of another example? Would you be more likely to notice a dog sitting in your room when you come home or an ant? Finish this sentence for me: I heard a noise outside so I walked out the back door and immediately noticed…" I could also teach a few other vocabulary words using the same teaching techniques. These words would most be 'mustache,' 'scissors,' and 'comfortable.'

4. Give each student a copy of the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff. Do a quick booktalk before. Say: "In this book we will hear the story of what happens if you give a mouse a cookie. This mouse ends up doing all kinds of crazy things. Let's see what all he will get into once he eats that cookie!" Have the students partner read to one another.

5. Once they have finished, have them close their eyes while I read the story again aloud. Say: "Okay, I am going to read the story out loud and I want each of you to close your eyes and imagine what I am reading. Visualize it in your head." Read the story.

6. "Now I want each of you to pick your favorite part of the book. Draw what YOU picture when you read that line or lines of the book."

7. For the assessment, have each student come up and share their picture from the first visualization practice about the chocolate cake. Have them describe why they drew it the way that they did.



Lawyer, Nicole. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/lawyernrl.htm


Picture of camera is from http://www.flickr.com/cameras/nikon/d3100/


Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Harper & Row: 1985.


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