Before the teaching, we begin to discuss what does it mean if I ask them to visualize. I received some crazy answers to begin with. One student thought it referred to math and how we problem solve. This is my first clue that I need to guide them in the right direction.
I asked them to refer back to the bookmark we created for reading. This gave them the clue that math was not part of it, at least not this time. I further explained that pre-reading is something we do before we read. This strategy we use during our reading. Some of my students began searching the During Reading section of their bookmark. Finally, on student exclaimed that it was making a mental movie.
The class then helps me create a working definition for mental movie and then we change the words to visualization.
The next piece is modeling how I can connect my prior knowledge to helping me create a picture in my head. I begin by asking them to picture in their head the following: dog, ice cream cone, Mickey Mouse, swimming pool, and sweaty.
To practice a couple of more I have found bringing up brief scenarios can really be fun and I show how a little information can help us create a good mental movie. The first scenario, s that of being at a fancy place and getting ready to see the bride come out to get married. Many students have been to some type of wedding and can activate a lot of what they know to supply more details. Some will talk about the flower girl, people crying, the music, and I even had one student talk about the photographer. Form this scenario, I point out that we used different senses to recall information. Someone said music and we can remember the sound, and someone else remembered that people are smiling and crying bringing up the emotion.
The last scenario we practice with is about a little kid walking down a sidewalk in the summer eating a three scoop ice cream cone. Students have fun with this one because they like to tell you about the mess and all the near misses the child will avoid. My favorite from this response was a little girl said that she can visualize the cone dripping and spots forming a trail behind him.
The story I chose to model this strategy was Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr. I start by reminding them of yesterday s read aloud about the farm and how we activated prior knowledge of a farm to help us better understand that book. When I read to day I point out that they need to listen carefully to my reading and use their schema to help them visualize what is happening.
I begin reading the book but make sure to not show any pictures. I want them visualizing the story as best they can. For the first page, I call on a few students to share what they created as their mental movie. I ask for others to confirm if this was anything close to their own visualization. We add what we can to it to start.
After the first page, I do not stop to discuss again. Instead I read each page carefully and slowly. I read slowly and pause at the end of the page so they have time to think and try to visualize what I just read aloud. I do this through the whole book. When I finish I then ask each child to share something that they visualized from the story. It can be from any page or part.
Before reading the book a second time, I tell the class that this time I am going to read the story again but show them the illustrations. If I show an illustration that matches or is close to what they visualized then they can give me a thumbs up. This keeps students from shouting out and offering when they were right while others might need the chance to hear the story again and process it.