Experienced educators recognize the truth in the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Visualization -- seeing the words of a text as mental images in the mind -- is a significant factor setting apart proficient readers from low-achieving ones. Studies have shown that the ability to generate vivid images while reading strongly correlates with a person's comprehension of text. However, research has also revealed that 20 percent of all children do not visualize or experience sensory images when reading. These children are automatically handicapped in their ability to comprehend text, and they are usually the students who avoid and dislike reading because they never connect to text in a personal, meaningful way.
Wow! I read those words ten years ago and have since kept them in my big binder of reading strategies. That 20% statistic just stuck with me. It just makes me so sad to think of those kids that do not enjoy reading because they have never experienced the ability to create their own mental images of the text they read.
Enter Shel Silverstein and his awesome poems for visualization. They are perfect for helping elementary students create mental images! You can see these poems below that I used on English days to model my own visualization and then the students practiced with the Spanish poems from Silverstein's book Batacazos and Donde el camino se corta. We had so much fun! Of course, I forgot to take pictures of their work but you can download the poems here for free! I would love to see what your students come up with!