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Lesson Plan

Mind Pictures: Strategies That Enhance Mental Imagery While Reading

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 40- to 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susan Ruckdeschel

Susan Ruckdeschel

New York, New York


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, a three-pronged approach is used to help students create mental images while reading. The first approach develops schemata (prior knowledge) and visual awareness (the understanding and interpretation of visual images) by introducing content-related picture books and having students respond to the illustrations using a series of question prompts. The next approach capitalizes on existing visual comprehension using a strategy called Watch-Read-Watch-Read (W-R-W-R), where video clips build background knowledge and assist students in developing "memory pegs" as they read. Finally, students use a strategy similar to the think-aloud approach, creating drawings to illustrate and understand relevant information gleaned from print.

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Picture Book Questions handout: Students will use this helpful handout to answer questions about the assigned picture book

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Hibbing, A., & Rankin-Erickson, J.L. (2003). A picture is worth a thousand words: Using visual images to improve comprehension for middle school readers. The Reading Teacher, 56(8), 758770.

  • Readers often lack the ability to create visual images when reading comprehension breaks down, resulting in fix-up strategies that focus entirely on decoding.

  • Many reluctant and low-ability readers are unable to describe images and pictures in their minds as they read.

  • Students are regularly confronted with images from television, video, and computer technologies, resulting in visual representations that are created for them as opposed to by them.

These lessons seek to capitalize on students' familiarity and comfort with visual imagery, while developing the independent skills needed to fully comprehend print using a visual process.

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