Visualizing Text

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Our focus in reading this week has been on visualizing text. We started on Monday by talking about what visualizing means and how it helps you when you’re reading. Each day we repeated these three pieces of information:

1. Visualizing means making a picture or movie in your mind of what the text says.

2. It can help you understand what you’re reading.

3. It can help you know when you DIDN’T understand something you just read, and can be the red flag that you need to re-read it.

I explained that I often have trouble with reading comprehension and that this is my best strategy. I try to watch a movie in my mind of what I’m reading. I know that when my mind is blank and I can’t picture what just happened, that means my mind was distracted while I was reading and I need to go back and re-read.

On Monday, we started by doing a read-aloud of a picture book without showing the pictures. I stopped at three different places along the way and had the kids talk about what picture they saw in their minds and which words led them to that picture.

On Tuesday, we reviewed what visualizing is and how it helps you as a reader. I used the same picture book to re-read some selected pages and have the kids again practice sharing their mental pictures. I modeled with the first passage and did a “think-aloud” of what was going through my mind as I read that page. Then I read a different page and had the kids do a “think-pair-share” of what they saw in their minds. We repeated this several times.
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Today, Wednesday, I typed the beginning to five different leveled books on half sheets of paper. The kids were given the passage from the book that was on their reading level. They glued the text in their reading notebooks and then had the following directions:

1. Read the text.
2. Imagine by making a picture in your mind of what the text says.
3. Draw the picture that you are seeing in your mind.

I modeled again what this would look like and was very clear with the students about the pictures they were going to draw. I told them that after everyone was finished, they would have to share their picture and show how each part of their picture matched the text. We talked about the importance of re-reading to check for missed details. We also talked about making sure their picture matched the text. I reminded them that this is not art work that is going to go in an art museum or even out in the hallway. We’re not looking for amazing pieces of art. We’re looking for pictures that match the text to show that what you are visualizing came from what you read.
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The kids set to work reading, re-reading, and drawing. After 15-20 minutes, when most students were finished, we did a partner share to show how our pictures matched the text. Again, I modeled using a student’s picture how each part of the picture came from the text. I gave example sentences like, “This dog is white with black spots because this sentence right here says that the dog was white with black spots.” And, “I read that there was a lady that lived next door who sang really loud so I drew a house next to the dog’s house and put a lady in front with music notes around her.” I told the kids clearly that I DID NOT want them to just read all of their text out loud and then show their picture. The point was to show how the picture matches the text. The kids did a fantastic job sharing their pictures and after 2-3 minutes, I asked if anyone wanted to give an example to the whole class of how they visualized the text.
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Tomorrow and Friday, the kids will read a book of their choice ON THEIR APPROPRIATE READING LEVEL. I will stop them every 5 minutes or so and have them choose a particular paragraph or sentence that they visualized really well and have them share their mental picture with a partner.

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