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Visualizing

Proficient readers scan and interpret text, forming a mental image of what is happening. A visualization made while reading will texture a scene with details that the text may not spell out—an indication of successful text comprehension. Support students in using all of their senses to engage with and imagine the world of a text. Multiple, differentiated models, practice, and support—drawing on UDL principles—will help all your students learn how to bring text to life as they read.


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Teach with Tech


Skilled readers see more than just the words on a page. Skilled readers go beyond the words on a page to picturing characters, places, descriptions, and processes. Using technology tools, in combination with the suggested practices below, can help your students learn how to visualize as they read to comprehend text.


Steps:


Step 1: Provide Clear Explanations


  1. Explain how using visualization can help readers understand the different kinds of texts they read.
    Ways to explain the value of visualization for different kinds of texts


    • Fiction: It can help students "see" the characters, their actions, and the environments in which they live.
    • Science: It can help students understand the procedures in an experiment.
    • Math: It can help students follow the steps in a word problem.
    • Social Studies: It can help students understand the setting of an event or time period, and it can give students insight into the lives of historical figures. (See UDL Editions Visualize Strategy for a student-friendly explanation and rubric for visualizing.)

  2. Discuss the strategies readers can use to help them visualize, both online and offline, such as drawings, photographs, graphics, dramatizations, and writing.
  3. Point out any graphics that are already in the text that could support visualization.
View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Provide explicit vocabulary instruction


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade


Step 2: Give Students Strategies and Models


  1. Model how and when you use visualization as you read varied texts as part of your everyday routine.
  2. Demonstrate online tools and features that students can use to support visualizing (e.g., images, drawing programs, graphics programs, webbing software, color coding, and so on).
  3. Read aloud a piece of text and then think aloud the process you follow as you visualize the setting, characters, and action.
    Example of thinking aloud with a piece of text


    "I grabbed my purse, stepped outside into the cold night air, and watched as a flake drifted to the ground. I started walking to my car, but I had to grab hold of a mailbox to keep from slipping."
    • Talk about what you visualized as you read the text, noting what the author says and what you imagined.
      • “I pictured a woman standing outside on a winter night watching snow fall.”
      • “I see her taking a step and then slipping on the icy sidewalk as she heads to her car.”

View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Teach students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content.


Evidence:
Moderate


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Step 3: Provide Opportunities for Practice


  1. Discuss how students could use the strategy for science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics.
    Ways to use visualization in different content areas


    • Ask students to form a mental image of the steps involved in a science experiment.
    • Have students visualize the parts of a math word problem.
    • Encourage students to enact historical events in social studies.
    • Ask students to illustrate the setting, situation, or characters from a story

  2. Extract a vividly descriptive text and share it with your students. Ask them to try out different interpretations of the text through writing, drawing, doodling, or role playing.
  3. Have students skim the text and highlight, underline, or make lists of words that are highly descriptive. To show how the words might relate to one another, have students create semantic maps.
View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Moderate


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


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