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Visualizing Reading Comprehension Strategy: Ideas and Activities

Definition: What is the Visualizing Reading Strategy?

Visualizing is when readers create a picture in their mind while they are reading. Readers visualize the characters, setting and events based off of the details from the text. This is important to boost reading comprehension and the overall enjoyment of a text!

Anticipatory Set

Visualizing Reading Strategy Engagement

When you are teaching reading strategies, it is worth your time to put a little extra effort into these lessons. When students have strong reading strategies, they are more likely to access the rest of the curriculum during your year together. One way we boost engagement is to cover up the cover of a book. Donโ€™t let the class see any of the pictures! Next, pick a page in the book that has descriptive details or just a fun point in the book. See if they can draw the character and scene where you paused. If there’s no time for drawing, you can also have them turn to their neighbor (pair-share) and discuss what they think the pictures look like. Have them share out and then show them! At the end, you can also have the students draw the cover of the book, since it was covered up. You can then uncover it and see how close they got!

Visualization Reading Strategy Activity

Gestures (TPR- Total Physical Response)

Something that I have ALWAYS used in my classroom is TPR, or Total Physical Response. This is a movement or gesture that the students use to remember a concept. This helps those kinesthetic learners, not to mention, it’s just FUN! The gesture that I have my students use for visualizing is they tap their brain (like they are thinking) and then take their hands and create binoculars. Whenever we say visualizing, they do this gesture to help them remember!

Book Recommendations for Visualizing

The best picture books to use with visualizing should have descriptive details in the text. Some examples are:

Roller Coaster By Marla Frazee

The Paperboy By Dav Pilkey

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun By Maria Dismondy 

The Rainbow Fish By Marcus Pfister 

Want more book recommendations for reading strategies? We have a list HERE for all of the reading strategies!

Visualizing Lessons

Reading Strategies Lessons and Activities for Visualizing

Students need to have multiple opportunities to access visualizing if you want the strategy to stick and become part of their reading process. Never think of reading strategies as, “Okay, I taught it, now I’m moving on.” Instead, do mini lessons throughout the year to reinforce the strategy! We love running copies of activities and putting them in a drawer. When there is an extra ten minutes or I need something quick to do, I go to the drawer, pull out the activity and grab a book! I use these ALL YEAR LONG!

Students start by filling in the notes page. We love having students glue them into their notebooks, so they can reference them all year long. Students fill in the blanks and practice the strategy with a read aloud and a book of their own. We also provide sentence frames that students use throughout the year. Other activities we use are art activities, exit tickets and foldables. Having all of these activities ready to pass out and use with students is a life-saver! They also make for amazing centers!

Want to try these lessons in your class? We have a bundle available on Teachers Pay Teachers! CLICK HERE for the link! (We also have ALL of the Reading Strategies available in a bundle to save you money! If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE!)

Freebie Activity for Visualization

The “tasks” that you want students to master in visualizing is that the author uses details to connect to the reader’s senses. Pick a spot in your book that focusses on one of the senses and have students dive deeper. You also want them to realize that the author helps us visualize with word choice. Have them pinpoint exactly what word(s) the author used that helped them visualize. Lastly, you want to point out that an image is created in their minds. This freebie is the perfect activity to hit all of these visualizing tasks!

Independent Practice for Visualization

Reading Strategy Brochures Activity

After we have taught the reading strategy using the lessons mentioned above, we like to have students work on a Reading Strategy Brochure that reviews the strategy. In the brochure, students get notes, practice and application. The brochures are the perfect follow up activity to have students master the strategy!

Reading Strategies Practice

Intervention for Reading Strategies

Reading Strategy Groups for Visualization

Through the lessons, it becomes very clear which students are understanding the strategies. For the students that are struggling, we use Reading Strategy Groups. We have an entire blog post on this! If you haven’t read it, YOU MUST! Click HERE! Once we see around 4-6 students that need help with visualizing, we pull a Visualizing Strategy Group!

Guided Reading Groups for Reading Strategies

Another way to improve Reading Strategies is to use Guided Reading Groups! Pull groups of students at the same reading level and have them complete guided reading sessions that focus on the strategies! This is yet another way to train students to be good readers! We usually hold these groups after all of the strategies have been taught.

Want to grab our Guided Reading Bundle that focuses on Reading Strategies? We have 7 passages at 3 different levels with questions that focus on reading strategies! CLICK HERE!

Let’s Wrap It All Up!

As you can see, we value reading strategies in our classrooms. If students have a hard time understanding their reading, they (and you) will be pulling your hair out all year! We start with an anticipatory set to build engagement, move to lessons, practice using MANY different resources, hold strategy groups and then hold guided reading groups. When students have a strong foundation, they understand the material and enjoy reading!

Teaching Reading Strategies Materials
Reading Strategy Resources



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One Comment

  • I think reading strategies are extremely important to teach students! Visualization is one of my favorites because there are so many things you can do! For example, when I am reading a chapter book I pause and ask students to draw a picture of what they think is happening. If there is a book on the page, I will show them once everyone is finished. I have also told my students that when they are visualizing something it is like they are putting on a special pair of glasses!


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