Using Visualization to Promote Comprehension
One way to expand upon students’ budding comprehension skills is to promote visualization of what is being read. Students may blindly decode word after word on the page, but never really fully engulf themselves in the action of the story. Visualization is a fun way to help move students forward in their literacy learning!
When teaching visualization, I ask my students to name their favorite movie. I then remind them that all movies start out as written work, whether in a book or a script or both. We then talk about applying the movie making strategy to reading by thinking about what was read while reading. One third grade teacher made a YouTube video highlighting the idea that students should use visualization practices while reading. Read aloud to students and have them close their eyes for “movie making time.” This idea works for books without photos or even when reading a picture book without showing the illustrations.
A program I have used as an interventionist suggests using motions to symbolize different aspects of comprehension. Teachers make the motion during reading aloud to signal when one could employ various comprehension strategies. I’m sure your class could easily create its own symbol for visualization. The teacher should model when to use the visualization strategy based on what the author has written. After practicing together, the students can chime in, too. Students will be reminded to use the visualization strategy on their own as well.
There is even a recent article in Literacy Today that gives more details on a similar idea and it is titled “The Power of the Picture.” The author suggests, “Empowering students to paint a clear picture in their minds of what they are reading can bring the story to life and allow them to connect with the text in a meaningful way.” She encourages students draw what they are visualizing about the stories read in class. This way teachers can see more into what the students are thinking and they can better correct any “fuzzy” pictures, or trouble with comprehension that the students may be experiencing.