Images Have A Voice (Lesson 3 of 4)

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SWBAT identify the beginning/middle/end of a story and use imaging and characters' voice to improve comprehension.

Big Idea

Create images and hear the characters to improve comprehension.



This is the third and final version of 3 books about Little Red Riding Hood that we will compare. The previous lessons were Add Some Sense to the Images (Lesson 1 of 4) and Red Riding Hood Smelled Like Apples (Lesson 2 of 4).  For this third lesson, I am letting the students take the lead toward imaging, but encouraging them to add voice to the characters' descriptions.  I'll be wrapping up this comparison unit with a lesson entitled Wanted.. One Big Bad....(Lesson 4 of 4)

The focus on rich vocabulary continues, as we describe how the characters feel and use the senses to add more information to the image.  It gives a different motivation for the wolf and reasons why he acted as he did. The character descriptions gave us LOTS of discussion topics. As you discuss images, you'll ultimately discuss why the wolf, girl and other characters acted as they did. We spent time comparing versions of the stories and they kids really picked up on the ideas of why the girl acted differently in this story. Describing how the character in a story respond to challenges and events (RL.2.3) gives the kids an opportunity to delve deeper into the text and explore the author's purpose in characterization. 

I chose this book because it is a version from China. The story is very different and more difficult to read, so I will be reading to the students. We will be discussing tone as well as voice because this story has some great examples.

'Imaging' is the term that my district uses for 'visualizing'. In order to stay true to the district expectations, I'll continue to use this verbage. Visualizing is a critical skill for 2nd graders because they need to 'go deeper' in the text. By visualizing as they read, they are creating and tweaking images in their minds as they actively read. This kind of 'close reading', forming images using text, verifying and changing those images, and ultimately comparing their images to the author, creates critical readers and deepens comprehension.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • Show images of an original Little Red Riding Hood story and review what happens.
  • Review the charts that we've created so far - "What words did we use to describe the wolf and Red? What voices did we use for them?"
  • "Today I have a one more version of a Little Red Riding Hood story.  We'll use imaging once more to help us understand the story better." 

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Today we'll use imaging and think about the characters' voices - what is each character thinking or what would he/she say?" This is how I introduced the lesson.
  • "What were some feeling words and ways that we described the story with our senses?" Here's the senses prompt from the whiteboard and our brainstorming discussion about feeling words.
  • "Adding voice as we read makes us better readers because we are actively thinking about what each characters' voice sounds like and what he/she would say.""
  • "I'll write on the 'Imaging/visualizing Strategy' chart:"
    • Images help us add voice and read with expression.


When students use voice to read what the character says or thinks, they are adding their own perspective to the author's ideas. My students had different ideas about what the wolf or Red sounded like, but they justified their thinking ("She has a high voice because she's a girl, wolf has a loud voice because he's an animal"), so their ideas had validity. The ability to read with expression and add voice to the text, (RL.2.6) evidences that the reader is adding meaning as they read and able to insert personality into their perception of the character.


Introduce strategy - teacher models

  • Begin by reading the title without showing the picture. Pause and share the image you've created in your mind, and talk about which words from the book helped you "draw" your picture. Go back to the description list - which words describe how the character feels?
  • "Imaging helps us think about what the character would say and how she/he would say it. I'll use a voice today to show how I think the characters sounds.  The wolf will..... (pause) .... have a low scary voice.  Red will.... have a high voice."   
  • Read the first 2 pages without showing the picture . Pause again and draw the new image you created. Write some words to show what you see, hear, taste, smell and feel." After you create an image, show the image in the book and compare.  "Are they the same?  No... but my image helped me understand the story better."  Put it on the 'beginning part' of the chart.
  • This is what it looked like when I modeled the voice and imaging and here's my image.


Highlight the distinction between how the scary wolf voice sounds in this version versus how the nice voice of the wolf sounds in the earlier version you read. This might help your students make the connection that using the text to help us imagine the characters and their voices will help us understand the text better.

Guided practice - work with the students

  • Read the next 3 pages (and show pictures) and then read (without showing the last picture)
  • "What do you imagine?  Reinforce the senses and feelings associated with what the images.  Ask them about voices. "What could the wolf say... What would grandma say?"
  • "You can use a voice or thought bubble, depending on what the character is saying or thinking."  This is our voice or thought bubble discussion.
  • Draw your image and put it on the second part of 'beginning' of the chart.
  • "Are the images identical? Probably not!" This is a great time to talk about why your images might be different. "Our experiences and background knowledge change the way we create the picture in our minds." 

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Assign Task

  • "I'm going to continue reading. Each group should draw and then I'll pick an image to add to our large chart.You can use the colored page at your table to make a picture for your group to show you are active readers. Make sure you know who will be your 'illustrator' for the group and remember the rule of Rules of Good Group Work."
  • "Write your descriptive words around the picture so we know what senses you are using to create it.  Everyone in the group should add ideas to these description."


Read and assign groups

  • Each group should draw and then pick a picture at the end so all are participating.
  • Here's a student working and one of his images.
  • Can the kids think of several descriptive words? Are they able to put detail into their images? This is the kind of formative assessment that helps me to determine if the kids are able to use the strategy effectively.


When you preview the book and think about your class's ability, I will leave it up to you which pages to stop on and how often to have the kids use imaging. My kids needed more prompting so I stopped after every few pages, but this time they needed less prompting and repetition of details. For this last story, they have really improved with practice. Second graders typically do not always have a lot of confidence about their reading and ability to form images, especially comparing them to the author.  As we continue to compare author's versions of these fairy tales from other countries or perspectives (RL.2.9), they will see that there are different interpretations and no 'right answer', which should improve their confidence. I think that's why the Common Core Standards include this focus area. As students critically compare works on similar topics, they realize that perspectives vary and they should be open to different interpretations of stories.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Share what you know

  • We look the comparison chart that we have created.
  • Ask students to comment on the pictures and story, asking introspective questions.
    • "What did you add to the images?"
    • "Was it easy to imagine what to draw with the text I read to you?"
    • "What was hard to do?"
    • "How did you feel about adding the feeling and senses words?  Does it make the images better than the pictures alone from yesterday?" 
  • Groups can share their posters and images. "What was your favorite part of the story?  What was easy or hard to imagine?"

As students work in groups and then participate in class discussions about this text and project, they are part of a collaborative discussion about grade level topics. (SL.2.1) The Common Core standards represent a shift from individual demonstration of a skill to group collaboration to create a finished project and present it as a whole.

Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

This lesson could be taught to those with language challenges with proper support. Putting some feeling and descriptive words on the board would allow them to have some ideas for the images. Grouping them with others of different abilities would allow them to use their creative ideas without the pressure of writing or spelling words. 

Students with greater ability should be challenged to use higher level vocabulary to describe the images. Their ability to share their thoughts with the class should also challenge them to explain clearly their thinking about character motivation.