The Place for Expert Reading Advice

The Place for Expert Reading Advice

Reading Spotlight Blog -


Practicing visualization provides a different way to assess and improve student understanding of text.

Are you tired of the same old question/answer format for reading comprehension?

Although many books provide photos, drawings, and diagrams, actual student production of a visual image, derived from reading, can highlight important concepts and make them more easily remembered. Give one of these visualization techniques a try!

  • Diagrams, especially for science concepts and difficult grammar rules, are a great way to make mental images clearer and memorable. Textbooks do provide some graphics, but it is better if students make their own for hard concepts. Simple drawing of a bar graph from a line graph can improve understanding. Pairing students together for this visualization activity can help weaker comprehenders, too.

Diagraming is especially effective, for example, when teaching the correct use of him/her (rather than he/she) after a preposition. Misuse is so common on TV, as announcers try to be grammatically correct, but they are not. The clear visualization in a diagram of subject vs. object clarifies the rule well for students.

  • Time lines, increasing in difficulty as reading ability improves, are a good way to put the sequence of events into visual perspective. Teachers should require sequencing skills more often because they are so important to clear comprehension of both narrative and expository text.

Try this enjoyable and effective group activity: After reading a book or studying a science experiment, ask the students to draw pictures or diagrams and then make captions for different events. When all are finished, ask them to place themselves  in correct time order around the classroom or within their small group. I have done this many times for many different readings.  Guide the movement when you must, asking students to agree or disagree (kindly) on the correct time/location order. It is especially helpful for some students to physically move into the proper sequence. Review the entire time line when finished.

  • You can also make a paper Story Quilt to hang on your classroom wall, using 8 x 8 paper for the pictures with captions written on each one. Ask, “Who’s next?” as you add each scene on to the quilt in correct sequence, encouraging students to agree or disagree (kindly) each time.

The pages of my second-graders’ one minute slideshow of America the Beautiful were drawn, laminated, and placed into book form for free-time reading. Children often mouth the words of a patriotic song, but some do not really have an actual understanding of the meanings. I took photos of the pages of the book they created for this slideshow.

  • Another fun way to practice these skills is with a photo/caption matching game. It can be adapted to any level and any sport. Simple one-word captions can be made for lower level readers, while more complex caption matching of pictures with slight differences within the same sport can be challenging for higher level readers.

Check out my FREE and simple project directions ALL Sports Comprehension Activity.

in  my  Reading Spotlight Tpt Store

It includes medals and a chart for recording results. Now is the time to collect photos from newspapers and magazines as the extensive media attention to summer sporting events increases the motivation and enjoyment.


© Reading Spotlight 2016