Visualization Activity: Drawing to Enhance Reading Comprehension


One of the perks of being a teacher is that I get to share my story ideas with my students. I’ve been working on this particular story since the fall. I’ve gone to several critique groups through SCBWI and used their feedback to revise and edit.  This week I shared the newly revised story and asked my students to visualize it in their minds. I explained that active readers/listeners are able to create a movie with pictures or scenes in their brains as they read, to fully grasp the depth of a story.

I read the story and asked a few questions to make sure they were following the storyline. I then asked them to draw an image or scene from the story. I have to say, I got really emotional when I looked at their drawings. Some of them were so sophisticated and moving…and to think that my little ones are between the ages of 5-7.

These beautiful drawings also confirmed how important visual cues are for readers, particularly struggling readers. It saddens me that in some educational structures, taking the time to draw and color are no longer viable methods for checking understanding. Little people come with so much to express. It’s important that we educators take the time to really get to know our students and their strengths, not just their stretches.  If I were to solely base their academic abilities on standardized tests, I would never be able to see and appreciate their soul. I hope you enjoy their drawings. Granted, I am not providing the story text -their beautiful and creative images tell a story of their own.


“This story reminds me of the olden days.”


“I felt the grass with my hands when you were reading.”


“The girl was really mad at her grandpa.”


“It’s a far away place.”



“Did you see the designs I used in my drawing?”


“My grandfather died.”


I wanted to make the water really blue.


“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau