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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

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


Materials and Technology






  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little Brown, 1990) or another novel with a companion movie

  • Movie version of Maniac Magee (Nickelodeon Network, 2003)

  • Overhead projector or LCD screen

  • Related picture books with themes of homelessness or prejudice

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1. Gather the following picture books to be used before reading Maniac Magee to build students' background knowledge and help them visualize one of the themes of the novel:
  • Bunting, E. (1991). Fly away home. New York: Clarion Books.
    This story is about a boy and his father who live in an airport.

  • Disalvo Ryan, D. (1991). Uncle Willie and the soup kitchen. New York: Mulberry Books.
    This book tells the story of a boy who works for one day in a soup kitchen with his Uncle Willie, preparing food for hungry people.

  • Bunting, E. (1994). Smoky night. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Company.
    When the Los Angeles riots break out in the streets of their neighborhood, a young boy and his mother learn the value of getting along with others, no matter what their background or nationality.
2. Read the novel Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli or another novel that has a movie companion.

3. Preview the companion movie, and identify clips that can be used to enhance visual imaging in preparation for students reading the book.

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