Helping Students Comprehend Text in Any Class Using Visualization

We want students to comprehend what they are reading.  One of the many ways for students to comprehend what they are reading is to visually picture an image that they are reading about.  Jeffrey D Wilhelm wrote the book Reading IS Seeing.  In Wilhelm’s book he said, “Of course, being able to comprehend and visualize word meaning and central concepts is essential to reading.  A necessary as this skill is, by itself it is not sufficient for achieving an expert level of reading.  Students must learn to coherently envision chunks of text as organic meanings” (Wilhelm, pg. 56).

 The big question is how can I use this in my classroom?  Here are some tips from Wilhelm that you can give your students to help them visual when they are reading in your class.


  •  As you read, make pictures in your mind to help you understand and remember.
  •  Try to build images of people, places, interactions, events, processes, and ideas as you read.
  •  Use memories and objects from your life experience to “see” what you are reading.
  •  Make a movie in your mind as you read.
  •  Try to recall the major scene, main idea, important process, and so on, from your reading by using an image or moving images.
  •  Use visuals to placehold major ideas and their sequence.
  •  Explain how and why visions or pictures develop and change with the introduction of new information.

 Click here if you would like to read a sample from Reading IS Seeing that includes these tips.  This link is from the Scholastic company and contains sample pages of the book Reading IS Seeing.  The sample pages are from page 56 to 71.  The page is a direct copy from the book.

This would be a book that I would recommend to any classroom teacher purchase to add to their library because of the different best practices that Wilhelm offers with visualizing scenes, characters, ideas, and text worlds to improve comprehension and reflective reading.

-Mrs. Berry


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