Saturday, January 19, 2013

Building Comprehension with Mental Images- Free Unit!

Hi Friends!
 I wanted to share a mental image unit we worked on this week that is based on the book Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller. If you've never read this book, you must! It's full of ideas and books that will help your students think and write after reading to build comprehension. This unit was developed using ideas and texts from this book.
 I have the unit plans, poems and printables for you. I haven't "cutesified" these yet but they do the job. Keep reading to find them!

Lesson 1- Our Mental Images are Different!
We start the unit by listening to a few poems. We try to figure out what they are about using the mental images created in our mind from the words in the text.

Then we make a mental image of our dream birthday cake. I pass out a post-it note to each child and they draw their mental image. We make this anchor chart for the unit. It was made quickly, don't judge. :)
 I refer back to this chart throughout the unit to explain that since we all have different mental images, authors must use very specific words to help the reader create their mental image.

Lesson 2-
 I read the book the Quiet Place without showing the pictures and have students use text clues to create mental images. They then try to infer the setting of each page.
The Best Part of this lesson: The last quiet place in the book is the place you find when you read books and create mental images to take you to far away places. Love it!!!

Lesson 3-Using Text to Support your Mental Image
 I read Miss Nelson is Back without showing the kids the Viola Swamp illustrations.We discuss clues from the text that can help us draw our image. I then have them draw their mental image of the mean substitute before showing them the picture.  The suspense drives them crazy!

Lesson 4- Mental Image Can Change While Reading

I use the Napping House to show students that your mental image can change as you read and gain more information from the text. I read the whole book without showing the illustrations and stop 4 times to let the students draw their mental image each time.

Lesson 5- Talking with Others Can Change Your Thinking
I also read the Salamander Room without showing the illustrations. I have students try to add as many details of the room as they can based on the text they hear. I stop between each page so they have time to draw. After their first drawing, we talk about how adults use Book Clubs to share with each other and the conversations can lead to a better understanding of the book. I then ask the students to confer with a partner to see if there were any details they forgot to add to their mental image. If they missed a few details, they draw them in the box on the right side of the paper.

Lesson 6- Reading Text and Drawing a Mental Image
For this lesson, I help the students read 5 different poems. The students then choose the poem that gave them the best mental image and they draw their image. 

Click Here if you would like to download the unit for free. If you can use it, let me know!!!

*** Disclaimer**Although the Common Core doesn't explicitly address mental images, we need to teach children to identify sensory language in text( 1.RL.4). These lessons give my students the experience listening to words with great language and description before we begin to really dig deep into text to identify and write with sensory language. It also is so important to teach children this skill as they prepare to read chapter books that do not include picture supports.

I linked up with Friday Flashback since this was my comprehension focus this past week. Go check out the other bloggers' weeks!


  1. This is a GREAT unit. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Marilyn- 2nd grade

  2. Hi Erin! We just found your blog as we were searching for mental images. We love how you laid out your week of lessons for mental images! You shared some great books we have not thought of using before! We agree that our kiddos need to have a background in using the skill of mental images. We're planning to squeeze it in our plans!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  3. Thankfulness to my father who informed me about this webpage, this website is
    truly remarkable.

    Look into my website: their explanation

  4. Hello! I just found this through a mental imaging search. This is amazing!!! I'm so excited to look at more things throughout your blog. (And P.s., I'm your newest follower!)