Do You See What I See?

Reading to Learn

By: Lindsey Barber


Rationale: For students to become fluent readers they need to have comprehension strategies to help them make sense of what they read.  One of those strategies is visualization. Visualization is important because it opens up your imagination and once students begin reading chapter books without illustrations, it is important to use visualization to aid in comprehending stories.  This lesson will help students with the strategy of visualization while reading to help them improve their comprehension skills. In this lesson students will practice visualizing different scenes in the book by drawing what they see and writing about it to help with their comprehension of the story.

Materials: Class set of Sarah, Plain and Tall, white paper, markers/crayons/color pencils, pencils, Assessment Checklist


1.     Say: "Sometimes when we read a book with no illustrations in it, it is hard to picture what is going on in the story and this might make it hard to comprehend what we are reading. Today, we are going to practice the strategy of visualizing. Can someone tell me what visualizing means? Yes, it means we can read a story and picture what is happening in our minds. First, I am going to show you how to visualize and then I will let you practice reading and visualizing with a partner."

2.     Say: "I am going to model how we can visualize text. I am going to read a section out of the book, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and then I will draw on the board what I visualized. While I do that, I want you to close your eyes and listen to me read and then draw what you visualized. What I visualize may be different from what you visualize, and that is okay because our imaginations work differently. Now, I am going to read the passage. 'Sarah sang us a song that we had never heard before as we sat on the porch, insects buzzing in the dark, the rustles of cows in the grasses.' I pictured Sarah sitting on the porch with her brown hair in a bun. I then pictured lightning bugs flying around with their bright yellow light shining. Then I pictured cows chewing on the brown grass. Now, I am going to give you a few minutes to finish your drawing and then I will walk around to look and ask questions about what you drew."

3.     Say: "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 responds by writing letters to them. 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.     Say: "In this book there might be a few words you don't understand and don't know the meaning of. We are going to learn about one word you may not know the meaning of and that word is pesky.


Pesky means a person who makes a lot of trouble or bothers others.


Here is an example of it in the book: Do you think she'll come? asked Caleb. "And will she stay? What if she thinks we are loud and pesky?"


Would a pesky person be quiet and keep to themselves or would they nag you and get on your nerves?


Now, I want you to complete a sentence using the word pesky. Sometimes I feel like I am being pesky when I _________________________. "

5.     Say: "Now you are ready to practice visualizing on your own. I want you and a partner to take turns reading Chapter 1 together. While you are reading I want you to visualize what the setting and characters look like and anything else you can visualize that is going on in the story. After you are done reading, I want you and your partner to each draw something you visualized while reading the chapter. I also want you to write a sentence about what you drew. So if I read, 'A log broke apart and crackled in the fireplace', I am going to draw a log breaking apart in a fireplace and then I will write that sentence."

6.     I will assess the students 'ability to visualize text by observing their drawings and their sentences they write using the following checklist. I will also ask some comprehension questions from chapter one.



Assessment Checklist

Student draws a representation of a scene from the book ________

Student describes the scene from the book using a sentence excerpt _______

Student orally connects the representation with the sentence excerpt ______


Comprehension Questions:

1.     Why do you think they are writing letters to Sarah?

2.     Why do you think they want to ask her if she sings?

3.     Where do you think Sarah is from? What clues did you use to find that out?



Russel, Jennifer. Mind Reading. to Learn.html

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

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