Reading workshop is well underway in our room. In addition to teaching routines and expectations, we’ve been working on visualizing. I like to introduce (or review) all of the reading strategies right away and then spiral back through them during minilessons all year long. I start with visualizing because it’s fairly concrete and the students seem to enjoy it the most.
We discuss how visualizing is like making “mind movies” to help carry us through the story. I invite students to share their mind movies with partners through oral descriptions and quick sketches too. I like that visualizing is open-ended and you can’t really be wrong. For example, we’re reading Pencil of Doom by Andy Griffiths right now. It’s another one of my favorites! It’s such a good book that the substitute I had on Wednesday read way too long because she didn’t want to stop, haha. Anyway, we got into a goose bump-moment debate over who the characters on the cover were. I honestly don’t know which is which either and the students both loved and hated that. =) We were using our clues and the mind movies we had made to compare and contrast the cover’s characters to our own. You’ll probably want to go on and get the rest of the books in the series because your students are going to want to read them all. Trust me.
This year, I also pushed out a story wheel into one of my centers at the end of the week. I laminated copies of it so students could map their stories with dry erase markers, share them with the group, and then erase the maps for the next group. It was so easy to put together and a great quick assessment for me to see who was having trouble visualizing and/or recalling six main events of their story. You can grab the free story wheel from Into the Book here.
Finally, I read Meanwhile by Jules Feiffer for a visualizing minilesson. I usually read it in writing workshop for a pattern book or repetitive pattern minilesson, but decided to try it in reading workshop this year. It’s a comic book style book about a little boy named Raymond who wishes real life worked like a comic book so you could just write “meanwhile” and change the scene. He, of course, gets his wish and is transported into various different scenes. Each time he would write “meanwhile” I would have my students stop and do a quick sketch of their mind movie. I stuck little sticky notes on those pages to help me remember them while reading. The book doesn’t have page numbers (hate that!), but if you decide to get the book, I put sticky notes on pages 3, 9, 15, 19, and 25.
I haven’t used it yet this year, but I also like to use Dream Weaver by Jonathan London. I’m not crazy about spiders, but the illustrations in this one *almost* make the yellow spider cute. It reminds me of classics like Verdi and has nonfiction too.
Okay, I hope that gives you some great ideas for visualizing! We’re working on introducing making connections next, so I’ll be back with a wrap up of those ideas soon. Until then, if you decide to purchase any of these books for your classroom, I’d love it if you used my link. Have a great week!