Lessons about Visualizing with Informational Text

Visualizing is an important skill – particularly for the comprehension of key science concepts. We’ve highlighted lessons that can be used to introduce the skill or support students as they practice visualizing text. In many cases, the lessons have been written for use with fiction. However, they can be adapted for use with any text, including the titles from our virtual bookshelf.

Visualizing Lesson Plans (Grades K-5)
This section of the Into the Book web site offers five ideas for mini lessons on visualizing. These activities meet the following NCTE/IRA Standards: 1, 3, 11, 12.

Visualizing: Hill of Fire (Grades K-3)
This lesson is designed to expand the skill of visualizing for primary students. While the lesson is written with a specific text, Hill of Fire by Thomas Lewis, in mind, it can easily be adapted for use with any nonfiction text. This lesson meets the following NCTE/IRA Standards: 1, 3, 11, 12

Constructing Meaning Through Drawing Pictures (Grades 3-5)
In this lesson, students read a nonfiction article, sketch a picture to represent key concepts, and then use that picture to teach a peer about the concepts. Students also work cooperatively to create a group picture. While this lesson was written for an article on the butterfly life cycle, it can easily be adapted for any topic. This lesson meets the following NCTE/IRA Standards: 1, 3, 11, 12

Guided Comprehension: Using the Sketch-to-Stretch Strategy (Grades 4-6)
This lesson introduces students to sketch-to-stretch, the comprehension strategy that involves visualizing a passage of text and interpreting it through drawing. The strategy encourages diverse perspectives and fosters open discussion of various interpretations. Sketch-to-stretch is first introduced, demonstrated, and applied in a whole-group session. Students are then placed in groups with similar instructional needs to practice the strategy through teacher-guided small-group instruction and student-run comprehension centers. At the end of the third session the class gathers to reflect on how visualizing can help them understand texts. While this lesson is written using fiction, it can be adapted for use with nonfiction text. This lesson meets the following NCTE/IRA Standards: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 11.

This article was written by Jessica Fries-Gaither. Jessica is an education resource specialist at The Ohio State University and project director of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears. She has taught in elementary and middle school settings. Email Jessica at beyondweather@msteacher.org.

Copyright March 2011 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National  Science Foundation under Grant No. 1034922. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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