Visualizing Passages and Assessments by Emily KissnerContents-Directions for Teachers-2 short, easy passages-2 assessment guidesDirections for Teachers Visualizing is an important skill for primary readers. This skillcan be difficult to assess, however, as we can’t see inside areader’s head. Looking at student drawings is one way to seewhat readers are thinking to help us plan further instruction.Step 1: Model drawing a picture based on what you visualize You can use a paragraph from a guided reading text toshow readers how to do this. Display the text for students, andcreate a drawing to show what you “see” in your mind.Emphasize that drawing skill is not necessary—if you are havingtrouble depicting an item, you can always just label it. Showreaders how you are making inferences to add elements thatmay not be explicitly in the text.Step 2: Use Passage 1 Depending on the skills of your readers, you may chooseto read this aloud, or you may choose to have students readthis independently. Make sure that they have access tocrayons or colored pencils to show the colors mentioned in thepassage. Even in this very short snippet of text, readers have to inferto build their visual image. The term “pet store” is not used inthe text. Readers can also infer that Anna is a little girl, and thatthe green fish is the one that is the “prettiest” to Anna.
Step 3: Use the assessment sheet to focus on what childrenrepresent in their drawings and plan further instruction. Few elements represented in drawing: If the child doesnot represent many ideas from the text, try reading aloud thepassage to see if visualizing improves. If not, work on readingwith retelling figures to help the reader match words from thetext with images. (See the work of Dr. Arthur Glenberg for moreresearch on this.) Drawing contains literal components only: This child ishaving trouble with making inferences to build a mental model.Try working with mystery passages, in which the reader has toinfer what the item or setting is from some clues. Work with thereader to think about what is in the text, and what he or shecan imagine by combining text clues and backgroundknowledge. Drawing contains misinterpretations: These readers aretricky to deal with. In some cases, it’s worth a conversation withstudents to figure out where the misinterpretations came from.Often, a misinterpretation might arise from a reading miscue ora misunderstanding of a multiple meaning word.Step 4: Use Passage 2 to check for progress How are students progressing? Use the second passage tosee how students are doing.
Visualizing 1Directions: Read the passage. In the box, draw apicture to show what you visualize. Anna looked at the tanks of fish. She saw a green fish, a yellow fish, and a red fish. In the corner, a crab was hiding behind a rock. “What do you think, Anna?” Mom asked. “Would you like to buy one?” Anna grinned. “I want the green one!” she said. “It’s the prettiest.”
Visualizing 2Directions: Read the passage. In the box, draw apicture to show what you visualize. “I want it!” TJ whined. He squirmed in his seat in the shopping cart. “I want the Lego toy!” “Mom said we aren’t buying any toys today,” Lexie told him. She pushed him down the long row of toys. “You’ll have to wait until your birthday.”
Assessment Sheet: Passage 1Student nameDatePassage 1: This passage describes a girl at a pet store with hermother. She is looking at the tanks of fish.
Assessment Sheet: Passage 2Student nameDatePassage 2: This passage describes a boy and a girl in the toydepartment of a store. The boy, TJ, is in a shopping cart. Hewants a toy. Lexie is pushing the shopping cart.Literal Components: These Inferential Components: Theseelements are explicitly stated elements are implied in thein the text. text. Does the drawing somehow_____TJ represent these ideas?_____TJ sitting in the cart_____Lego toy _____ Lexie is older than TJ_____Lexie _____ TJ is unhappy_____ row of toys _____ They are in a store _____TJ does not have the toy ______TJ is a baby/toddlerMisinterpretations: Make a note of elements in the drawing thatshow a misinterpretation of the text.Exceeds Meets Working toward Does not meetexpectations: expectations: expectations: expectations:The drawing The drawing The drawing The drawingshows a clear shows an shows a basic does not showunderstanding of understanding of understanding of anthe passage by the passage by the passage by understanding ofincluding both including most including literal the text.literal and literal and some components.inferential inferentialcomponents. components.
More on visualizingThe Forest and the Trees by Emily KissnerA chapter on visualizing discusses how readers use details tobuild visual images.Visualizing Powerpoint and activitiesThis folder includes a Powerpoint to introduce visualizing andseveral stories that you can use with readers in grades 2-5.($3.00 from TeachersPayTeachers)Visualizing Lesson: Story and ActivitiesThis lesson includesretelling figures to help students connect text with images.($2.00 from TeachersPayTeachers)Chronological Order Texts for Teaching Text Structure See thetext “Making Apple Butter” for a visualizing activity to help olderstudents visualize complex text. Seven other texts with text-dependent questions included ($3.00 fromTeachersPayTeachers)Retelling Nonfiction This text includes retelling figures to helpstudents retell and visualize nonfiction text (free fromTeachersPayTeachers)