One way to get students to “think” while reading (or “think” while being read to) is to have them visualize. If they can see what’s happening, they are more apt to comprehend and remember. Here is a simple lesson for teaching visualization:
Ask students to listen as you read aloud a passage (or picture book, or section of text) without showing the illustrations or visuals, if there are any. Then read it again. This time, ask them to draw pictures of what they are “seeing” in their heads while you read it the second time. Have them compare drawn images with a buddy. Then compare them to the text’s illustrations. As their visualizations begin to more closely mirror those in the text, then add part 2 to this lesson series.
Simply make a T-Chart. Read the passage one additional time. While students sketch their visualizations on the left side of the chart, have them note key words or phrases to indicate what the illustration is representing. What they will list will include nouns, verbs, and adjectives they heard from the read aloud. Point out that these “loaded words” are the ones that conjure up pictures in the reader’s mind and help them visualize. Download the T-Chart.
NOTE: This is a great strategy for content area reading, too. Visualizing the details to a cycle, concept, reaction, war, process, geographic location, etc. makes it that much more understandable. And this strategy makes for a great study guide when reviewing for a content area test.