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Lesson: Visualizing From a Vivid Piece of  Text

1. Tell students that good readers make pictures in their heads to go with the words in a book and this helps them understand the story. They make pictures of  the people and places described in books.

2. Tell students that you are  going to read aloud a short part from a very famous book called
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.  Tell them to close their eyes and try to make a picture in their head about what you are reading.


"The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay......It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows......It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in."

3. After you have read the passage ask students to tell you what they saw in their heads. Ask them to tell you about  their barn. It is not important that they have all or even most of the animals and objects in their barn mentioned in the passage. What is important is that they are able to see a barn. Their barns may include elements not mentioned in the passage.

If students have a hard time describing their barn, model  what you see for them. I might say, "I see a big, old wooden barn with peeling  red paint. It has huge double doors on the front of it and these doors are wide open. The barn is in the middle of a tree filled meadow and a very soft breeze is making the branches of the trees sway."

Then give students a chance to share again after your modeling.

4. Finally have students draw their  barns. After the drawings are completed put them up on a wall. Talk with students about how they are all different. Most of them combine some of the ideas from the passage from Charlotte's Web and some ideas from the author's  head. Each drawing is different because we each make different "connections" to the idea of barns. But what is important is that we used what we knew about barns to help us make a picture of the barn in Charlotte's Web. This helps us understand the story better.

Submitted by CheriSumm@aol.com

Wyann, bwstanton@dellnet.com has created additional lesson ideas on teaching visualization. The lesson was created in Word and recreated in Adobe Acrobat.

(.doc  extension - Word)

(.pdf extension -  Adobe)

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