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How to Teach Visualizing in Reading to Elementary Students – 2022

Visualizing is an important reading comprehension strategy to teach elementary students. When readers visualize, they create a mental picture in their minds of what is being read by using the information in the text, their background knowledge, and imagination. This helps readers better understand and enjoy stories they read and listen to. Learn all about how to teach visualizing below!

What is Visualizing?

The visualizing reading strategy is when readers create a mental picture in their minds of what is being read. Basically, it is like the reader is making a movie of the book in their head. While reading a text, the mind is creating a mental image based on the events in the text. 

When visualizing, readers are using their background knowledge, imagination and information in the text to create the mental image. Readers will visualize the same text differently because each person interprets the text differently. 

As students are visualizing during reading, they are using their prior knowledge, making connections, inferring information, and paying close attention to the details within a text. These are all important parts of reading.

Why Is Visualizing an Important Comprehension Strategy?

Visualizing is an important strategy to teach for a number of reason. Most importantly, this reading strategy is crucial for students to build reading comprehension. When a reader is unable to make a mental image or loses their mental image, comprehension is lost as well. 

When readers visualize, they tend to have better recall of the text, make more connections, and ask more questions about what they are reading. Students that are able to make visualizations as they read comprehend the text better because their mental images helps make the text more relatable. 

Readers that visualize tend to be more engaged with a text because they are focusing on the key details and descriptions. This allows them to create their own mental image.

Visualizing is an important strategy for a number of reasons. Most importantly, this reading strategy is crucial for students to build reading comprehension. When a reader is unable to make a mental image or loses their mental image, comprehension is lost as well. 

Teaching Standards for Visualizing

Standards for this reading comprehension topic include…

CCSS

  • RL.1.4 – Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
  • RL.2.4 – Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • RL.3.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
  • RL.4.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
  • RL.5.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

TEKS

  • Grade 1
    • ELA.1.6.D – The student is expected to create mental images to deepen understanding with adult assistance.
    • ELA.1.10.D – The student is expected to discuss how the author uses words that help the reader visualize.
    • ELA.1.9.B – The student is expected to discuss rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and alliteration in a variety of poems.
  • Grade 2
    • ELA.2.6.D – The student is expected to create mental images to deepen understanding.
    • ELA.2.10.D – The student is expected to discuss the use of descriptive, literal, and figurative language.
    • ELA.2.9.B – The student is expected to explain visual patterns and structures in a variety of poems.
  • Grade 3
    • ELA.3.6.D – The student is expected to create mental images to deepen understanding.
    • ELA.3.10.D – The student is expected to describe how the author’s use of imagery, literal and figurative language such as simile, and sound devices such as onomatopoeia achieves specific purposes.
    • ELA.3.9.B – The student is expected to discuss elements of drama such as characters, dialogue, setting, and acts.
  • Grade 4
    • ELA.4.6.D – The student is expected to create mental images to deepen understanding.
    • ELA.4.10.D – The student is expected to describe how the author’s use of imagery, literal and figurative language such as simile and metaphor, and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance achieves specific purposes.
    • ELA.4.9.B – The student is expected to explain figurative language such as simile, metaphor, and personification that the poet uses to create images.
  • Grade 5
    • ELA.5.6.D – The student is expected to create mental images to deepen understanding.
    • ELA.5.10.D – The student is expected to describe how the author’s use of imagery, literal and figurative language such as simile and metaphor, and sound devices achieves specific purposes.
    • ELA.5.9.B – The student is expected to explain the use of sound devices and figurative language and distinguish between the poet and the speaker in poems across a variety of poetic forms.

3 Tips for Teaching Students to Visualize

Below are suggestion for when you teach your students about visualizing when reading.

1. Read Aloud Picture Books

Reading aloud picture books is a great way to model and practice this reading comprehension strategy. There are tons of great read alouds out there for teaching students to visualize. Some high-quality examples include Owl Moon, The Gruffalo, There Might Be Lobsters, Roller Coaster, and Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn.

2. Make Anchor Charts

Anchor charts are another great way to teach students about visualizing when reading. My visualizing resource includes an interactive anchor chart that successfully engages students in their learning and provides a visual learning experience for students to learn about visualizing.

3. Use Videos

The third on the list of tips for teaching students to visualize is playing videos. This is another great visual learning opportunity for students to learn about what can feel like a very abstract idea. Here is an example of a video for teaching students how to visualize when reading picture books.

Visualizing Resources

These printable and digital resource for teaching elementary students about visualizing make curriculum and lesson planning quick and easy. It includes teacher, parent, and student resources, so you’ll have everything you need to deliver meaningful research-based instruction rooted in current best practices. 

visualizing teaching resourcereading comprehension strategies teaching resource

What is Included

1. Teacher Resources

There are teacher notes about the strategy, teaching ideas, a planning page with question prompts, and list of mentor texts, so you have all of the information you need to plan a research and standards-based reading unit based on this reading comprehension strategy.

2. Prent Resources

There is a parent letter and a reading log with suggested question prompts so parents can confidently support and reinforce the strategy you are teaching with their children at home.

3. Instructional Resources

There are printables to create a large anchor chart and reference charts. Both save you lots of time searching for anchor chart ideas and supplemental teaching tools.

4. Student Resources

There are 3 printables and 2 activities for students that provide meaningful opportunities practice and make sense of the reading strategy in a fun and engaging way.

5. Digital Resources

There are digtial versions of several of the resources so students can access them in school or home using a technology device of their choice.

Why Teachers Love this Resource

  1. This collection of resources is versatile in that it can be used on it’s own or can be used to supplement any reading curriculum, so you will be able to continue to use these resources if your school adopts a new reading program or you switch school districts.
  2. This resource is part of a larger collection of reading strategy products, so you can provide a consistent instructional approach that your students quickly learn and understand the expectations and routines for. Learn more about this collection here!
  3. It’s a huge time saver! Instead of hunting for background information on a reading strategy and then searching for resources to teach the strategy, this comprehensive resource includes all of the information and resources you need to teach a whole unit on this reading strategy.
  4. The student activities are a lot of fun for students, which helps create a productive learning environment where students are engaged and learning!
  5. It includes resources that provide a great way to create a home-school connection with students’ families and support parents/guardians in continuing student learning at home.

In closing, we hope you found this post about how to teach visualizing helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in this other post about elementary reading comprehension strategies.

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