Ask Me Anything! I Can Use Imaging to Answer!

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SWBAT ask and answer questions with and without imaging/visualizing to realize this importance of the reading strategy.

Big Idea

Highlight illustrations that 'stick' to the text and help us understand better!



This text is a great one for second graders because it falls squarely in their lexile and, more importantly, is a favorite of many children. The kids can relate to the fun with the dinosaur and enjoy the fantastical images.

** "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

  • “I brought my giant question mark today. Can you guess what we’re talking about today?  Right, questioning. We’ll be using our imaging strategy in a story to answer questions about some literature.”
  • What questions words should I put up on the poster?"  I used the typical words and then used 'other' for the verbs that can start a sentence.
  • "Why do you think I need to list all of the question words?"  I'm looking to see if they can tell me that using a variety of questions helps us understand the story better or we put them all up so we don't forget to ask different questions.
  • Here's a discussion that we had about using all of the questions words.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Lesson discussion

  • “We have talked about many ways that imaging/visualizing help us. When we have pictures in our head and are using this reading strategy, it helps us answer questions more easily.”
  • “I’ll add that to my ‘imaging poster.”

                                       Imaging helps us answer questions.


  • “I’m going to read a few pages of our book and then stop and read a page that we can make an image for."
  • Read to page 11, showing pictures until that page.  “Here’s my image that I have in my head for what is happening. I’ll ask a question that I can answer – ‘Who is talking?’"
  • Write that on the organizer?  Let’s check the illustration – they are the same.  My image was right!”
  • Read through page 17.  “Hmmm this is harder – my image is (draw it) and my question is ‘What happened with the ropes?’  I’ll put that post-it on the big question mark.”  Let me check the book – ohh my image is different – not wrong – just different.  I’ll have to change my thinking – I thought they were in a different place.”
  • Here's what the whiteboard looked like as we finished.


Guided practice

  • “Let’s try one together.”  Read and show pictures up to page 23 (don’t show that picture on that page). What image could I draw?”  Take ideas and draw a picture.  "Now what question could I ask with my post-it?  I already have a ‘what’ and ‘who’ question. “I’ll ask a  ‘where’ question.  Can you help me with ideas?”
  • Take ideas.  I used ‘Where was he climbing?'
  • “Let’s try one more.”  Read to page 24 and don’t show the picture on that page.  “What should my image be?” The kids may have different opinions – that’s ok.  "I’ll pick this one. What question could I ask?  I”ll use ‘how’. 'How did they ride on his tail?'" Take a look at how we created the image.
  • Here's a student working on his image.
  • You might be interested to see the whiteboard as we finished working together.


The reason I use post-it notes for this activity is to ensure that the kids ask a variety of questions. Typically, second graders are good at asking ‘who’ or ‘what’ or ‘where’ questions, but I want to challenge them to use all of the question words. I point that out as we work - "We need more 'how' questions!".  I purposefully give each student 4 post-its to ensure that they have an equal chance to participate."Oh, you're out of post-its - who else still has some left to write a question?"

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • “Now it’s your turn.  You each have 4 post-it notes. As I read and pause, it’s your job to create an image in your mind and then write a question to answer. I’m passing out a worksheet. We all draw an image for each picture."
  • Here’s the pages I stopped on (and read but did not show the pictures until we had images and a question) for the kids to draw images. These are just suggestions – please preview the book and decide for yourself-you’ll need 8 to match the worksheet.  
  • I did suggest a few tips to the kids - they can just use part of the characters' bodies in their drawings, and all the question words had to be used.
    • Pp.28-29   How did he go under the bridge?
    • Pp.30-31  What did they eat?
    • Pp.34-35 Where were the animals?
    • Pp.38   Who said to go away?
    • Pp.42-43  What did he do for fun?
    • Pp.45 What tricks could he do?
    • Pp.56  Why did they pretend not to see him?
    • Pp.62 Where did the dinosaur go?
  • Remind students to go back to the text for answers. This is critical - they need to have evidence for their answers.  Ask them, at times..."How do you know that answer? Can you show me where it says the tricks he can do? Did the illustration or words tell you that?"
  • As kids work, remind them to spell the question words correctly and use question marks.


I took 3-4 volunteers to put up post-its for each question (I took my challenged readers/writers early so they had an opportunity to finish their post-it notes). The kids each drew their images on the worksheet, but could copy the volunteers’ questions.

My kids had some GREAT creative questions as well as comments about the images. We have been using imaging for several weeks and they are getting really GOOD at this strategy. They draw images quickly, are creative, and need just a few reminders to use the text for ideas.  If you students struggle, model more or 'think out loud' - "I bet you know that because the picture showed the zookeeper telling him to go away."

Some of my kids' images were very unique and I was pleased to see them really challenge themselves! They really started to think 'outside the box' and were had creative questions and images.

As students formulate and answer questions and verify with illustrations, they are citing evidence to ask and answer text-dependent questions. (RL.2.1)  Using imaging to actively read and then aligning those images with the illustrations in the book creates readers who utilize ‘close reading’.  They are intimate with the story, thinking about the authors’ purpose and context clues and activating background knowledge to create personal images. As they check these images, they adjust their thinking in line with the author’s purpose. We talked about these different images and how images may differ, but are fine as long as they are supported by text.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Discussion-turn and talk

  • Look over the completed whiteboard - "Were the questions evenly asked? What were the easiest questions to write?  What were harder questions?  What words did we use for the 'other' questions?"  
  • Take a few moments and discuss how imaging helps us comprehend. One student reflected back on her completed worksheet, commenting that she likes to stop and think as she reads and that her drawings help her when they 'are not right' because she has to 'check the pictures'. 
  • Have the kids turn to a partner and show their images. What was the same?  Were some of the images different?  What questions did they have that were similar?


This turn and talk technique, whether it is used to discuss worksheets, images or ideas, is critical for kids. They need the opportunity to reflect on their own work and see peer examples. Students gain ideas from others, whether they be helpful or gently critical, that gives valuable feedback. 


Optional Activity   (I ran out of time, but this would be great to do with the 2nd page of the worksheet)

  • “We’ve read a great story about an adventure with a dinosaur.  Can you imagine what you’d like to do with a dinosaur?  It’s your turn to imagine a scene?  You can choose your dinosaur.  Here are some pictures of some dinosaurs – choose one and make a quick scene."
  • "I’ll give you 5 minutes to draw your scene and then it’s time to turn and talk.”
  • Now turn to your neighbor and think of a question – your partner needs to write a question at the bottom of your picture that you need to answer.”


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

Students with academic challenges should be able to draw images, but may need to work with a partner or get teacher prompts for the questioning. Writing questions is difficult, especially considering the grammar and conventions involved. You will have to decide your purpose for these students related to the writing – proper question form or simple question formation. The former will require more prompting and the latter gives the writer more latitude to focus on the questioning technique vs the grammar. I did put up some spelling words on the whiteboard to help with writing.

I would expect ‘out of the box’ thinking and higher level language questions from those students with greater ability. Challenge them to ask questions that go beyond the basic factual questions to inferential questions that may not be necessarily answered by the text or illustration, but that draw on higher thinking skills.