Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Books to Help Kids Visualize (Ask Sharon...an Advice Column for Teachers)

On February 25th Michele wrote: I am looking for some really good books to teach visualization with my second-grade kiddos. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Michele,

When I think of good books to demonstrate visualization, I look for books that evoke ALL the senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch—not simply books that create a mental image. “Visualization” is more expansive than just what we can see.
With this in mind here are some books that are sure to please your young readers. I’ve grouped them into two categories—stories that contain lyrical language and lyrical texts that illustrate a concept.

First the stories that contain lyrical language (I won’t bother to annotate them here, I’ll just link you to Amazon so you can more fully review my recommendations):

1.     Down the Road by Alice Schertle
2.     The Five-Dog Night by Eileen Christelow
3.     Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack
4.     The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Patricia Harrington
5.     Hurricane! by Jonathan London

And for the lyrical concept books, I recommend:

1.     Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher
2.     In November by Cynthia Rylant
3.     Atlantic by G. Brian Karas
4.     A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood

If anyone has additional suggestions for Michele, please share in the comments box. Thanks.



  1. Here are a few of my favorite books for teaching visualizations:

    I'm in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor
    Hailstones and Halibut Bones
    Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
    Georgia Heard poems

  2. hey angi, i'm adding the first three books tonight. if you can send along a specific "georgia heard" title, i'll add that too. thanks for the suggestions.

  3. yes, i have tried it, although not often enough to refine my practice. sounds you've got it down. good for you! what grade do you teach?

  4. All too often I rely on a verbal description when my kids are unsure of what something is. I'll make better use of my prep time now with this reminder to slow down (a theme here! :) ) and make sure I can give them the prior knowledge they need to truly comprehend. Thanks, Sharon.. freelance training in bangladesh

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