During an initial consultation, I always present families with a learning styles inventory. Due to the nature of the information yielded from this tool, it proves invaluable as the sessions begin. This inventory helps guide strategies and tools presented, methods for lesson instruction, and reinforcement. Using this information, I have found the use of visualization to be beneficial in assisting students with a visual-spatial learning style to build comprehension. However, it is an invaluable tool for all students. To begin, I often present a striking image such as shark posing at an interesting angle or a valley with vibrant fall colors. The student is then asked a very general question, “What do you notice?” The answers yielded from this question are as diverse as the learners I guide. This question and the responses are then used to introduce and discuss the strategy of visualization. This strategy allows the reader to create images of the characters, setting and other contents of a book studied in their minds. While many readers are able to complete this skill automatically, the value of this skill is often overlooked. With a visual image created in one’s mind, or better yet drawn on paper, comprehension skills relating to main idea and details, inferences and vocabulary are all made much easier to complete. In implementing this technique with a student who was able to read fluently, yet struggled to comprehend what he read, visualization proved to be the key to unlocking his ability to comprehend the text. His ability to draw the images, later automatically creating these images in his mind, allowed him to understand the main idea and details in the text. He was able to articulate vividly the important details and how these ideas related to the main idea. The question then becomes how can this technique be used at home to assist students? Follow these steps for easy application:
1. Allow the child to read a self-selected yet, on-level text aloud.
2. Select one particularly vivid or exciting sentence or paragraph to reread.
3. Once a single reread has been conducted, encourage the child to close their eyes and reread the selection 2-3 more times.
4. Once the passage has been reread, with their eyes closed, encourage the child to share what images have been created in their mind. For instance, What characters do you see? Where are these characters? How are these characters behaving?
Keep in mind, this technique is applicable to both fiction and non-fiction texts. While the images created during visualization may vary, the effect remains the same. The child is able to “see” what is occurring in the text.
My hope is the implementation and continued use of this technique will help build your child’s understanding of the text. Equally as important however, this technique helps to foster imagination and creativity.
Ms. Melissa believes education should be engaging and fun! Throughout her lessons, she offers structure and choice to guide children into becoming life-long learners. She provides this blog to all those interested in education and learning more about Tutor Wise LLC. services. Thanks for stopping by!