"Visualizing For Reading Comprehension" 2 Skills Struggling Readers Need to Improve Comprehension

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

Albert Einstein once said “If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.”

It has been recorded that Good Readers are able to hold information about what they read by “making a movie in their head”.

Skill #1 Struggling readers can learn to make movies in their head through Visualization.

Research has shown that Visualization is important in how we process language and thought. The brain “sees” in order to store and process information.

How do we receive this information?

We know that most words have meaning.

When we read or hear words we need to have a way for them to make sense.

Our brain creates images of these meanings.

For example: if I say “cat”. You now have an image of a cat. If I add these words: “a big fat black cat” your cat image changes, right? Of course it does.

Your brain received more information and adjusted your image.

Skill #2 Struggling readers can share what they see through Verbalization

Those who can create an image in their brain can pull language from this image.

They can use words either orally or through the written word to express or describe what they are seeing.

They can make inferences, draw conclusions, even make predictions from this image.

They can use the imagination to ‘play out a very funny scene’ then relay it to their audience, their friends or family as a joke or a funny story.

So the ability to Visualize and then Verbalize is important in the way we interact with language.

Hi. I'm Jean Harville, founder of Private Dyslexia Tutor. When I discovered Visualizing and Verbalizing, I applied the strategy to strengthen my own comprehension skills. You see, I struggled in school with comprehension having to reread, reread, and reread passages to fully understand them.

Let's look at WHY visualizing needs to be taught, and HOW to effectively do so.

For a person with a great sense of humor, he takes in information from his environment, creates a funny scene (like a funny movie) then can verbally pull this movie scene outward through his expression of words, whether it’s in the verbal or written form.

Have you ever noticed that there are those who are laughing before the end of the joke or the punch line? These people are able to see the funny scene playing out in their heads and can predict the funny ending.

On the flip side...maybe you have been a part of a group of friends sharing funny jokes, everyone laughs, but you notice a few aren’t. They look puzzled.

They just didn’t see the image that was being created through the funny story.

Let’s bring the lack of imagery into the learning arena, the classroom. Why does imagery need to be taught?

The lack of imagery can show up as the child’s inability to understand what they are reading, or tell you what they saw with the words...a big fat black cat.

Maybe they can tell you that they saw a black cat and miss all those other descriptive words, because they are relying just on their memory, and all they remember is a black cat.

So what can we do about improving a child’s ability to comprehend what they hear or read?

Training them in a very simple technique that’s based on moving through sequential steps from small units of language to larger units of language....

first for a word, then to a sentence, and then to multiple sentences.

Questioning the child through each step will help to pull out the details of the image.

1) We begin at the “Single Word Level” where they can practice describing actual objects they are familiar with.

We want them to use structure words such as what, size, color, number, shape, where, adding movement, mood, background to really make the image vivid.

2) When they are confident at the single word level, we move into “Single Sentence Imaging”.

Here they are using the sentence as a thought, a concept.

An example would be “The cat is under the chair.” The goal is for the child to actually visualize the details in this sentence using structure words as mentioned above ( what, size, color, number, shape, etc.)

Through questioning and telling the child what his words are making you see, you are encouraging him to visualize and verbalize his image.

3) At the “Sentence to Sentence Level” we are moving the student to connect images, add to their images, or update their images as new information is being given.

For example, we add the sentence “a dog walks towards the cat.” Let’s add details, movement and reaction to the scene. The nice quiet image we had of the cat has now changed to one of action, right?

The goal of putting these sentences together is for the child to have a complete image or ‘movie’ at the end of the sentences.

Having this completed image will allow the child to verbalize answers to questions such as: factual content, drawing a conclusion, developing a main idea, and so forth.

Thus strengthening their ability to make ‘movies in their head’ to help with their understanding of the written word.

If you found the content in this article helpful, please LIKE and Subscribe to my Blog, you will be notified when I post the next article.

In my next article, I’ll uncover “Hidden Talents Dyslexic Children May Have”.

Add any questions below in the comment section you would like for me to answer. Also in the footer of this page is a Contact Me form if you are ready to set up a Free Reading Assessment for your child.

Thank you so much for stopping by my Blog and website.

Jean Harville

Private Dyslexia Tutor


19 views0 comments