How do I Teach Visualization in Reading?

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Check Out the New Blog Visualization in reading is basically the skill of being able to draw a visual picture in the mind based on the text that one is reading. It is a process of imagining as one reads and is generally used to enhance reading comprehension.

Harvey & Goudvis 2000 stated that ‘visualizing strengthens reading comprehension skills as students gain a more thorough understanding of the text they are reading by consciously using the words to create mental images. As students gain more deliberate practice with this skill, the act of visualizing text becomes automatic. Students who visualize as they read not only have a richer reading experience but can recall what they have read for longer periods of time.

Visualizing the text helps in creating a personal link or bond between the text and the reader or listener. The text has a firmer grip on those readers or listeners who visualize it, as the imagination can helps bring to life the different characters in the text. This makes the whole reading experience a lot more meaningful and encourages the student to continue through the text.

The task, however, is to teach students to visualize. The first step towards this process would be a careful selection of the reading text. It is important that we pick something that is descriptive in nature, has strong language skills and verbs, in order to allow the reader to create vivid images in his mind as he reads. To start off, one may even choose to select just a small portion of a bigger text, maybe a paragraph or two, to kick things off.

An example of a suitable text would as:

Joan could barely believe her eyes. All these gifts were for her! She had never seen so many packages, not even on all her birthdays combined!

After the students have read the text, ask them to describe what mental picture was created in their head as they read this. The responses that you would get would be wildly different. Some would imagine a small girl with gifts all around her; others would picture a bigger girl with a table full of gifts. Encourage students to share their thoughts, stressing that there is no correct answer.

You may also ask the class, as a whole or in smaller groups, to read the text aloud and discuss their thoughts. Encourage students to draw their thoughts. Ask them to go beyond what was written in the text and envision the background and the girl. All this will help create a detailed picture in their mind.

You may also take things a step further and ask them questions like ‘why did she get the gifts?’ or ‘what do you think she will do next?’ They may even personalize it by imagining that they are Joan and share how they would feel in such a circumstance.

What are some of the others ways in which you can encourage visualization in reading?

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One Response to “How do I Teach Visualization in Reading?”
  1. Julia Byl says:

    Having students dramatize reading sections is also helpful, as is finding photos online of unfamiliar items in the text. If the reading refers to geographic areas, having a map at hand is recommended.

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