Visualizing is an important skill for children to develop. Creating vivid mental images aids in the comprehension of the text at hand. Visualization can make use of all our senses and helps bring the text to life. Apart from improving reading comprehension skills, visualization also helps:
- Improve recall abilities
- Create personal connections to the text which makes for a rich reading experience
- Children become more deeply involved in their reading
- Understand the writer’s perspective better
- Pay more attention to details
- Perform better on standardized tests
- Strengthen inferential thinking
- Children become better readers overall
Visualization is not only important for reading, but also for writing. Visualization techniques used in writing helps the writer connect to prior knowledge and past experiences, to create engaging pieces of writing. They are also able to use visualization to predict and analyze how the reader might interpret and react to the texts they create. Children who practiced visualizing are able to write more expressively.
The ability to create mental images while reading is an efficient strategy in reading and writing. However, this is not something that comes naturally for everyone. Some children have never been taught to pause and visualize and reflect on these images. As children practice this skill and understand its importance in helping them read better, the act of visualizing text becomes automatic. The best part is that this visual cognitive strategy has no right or wrong answers; each image is as unique as the child himself!
“According to Robert J. Marzano and others (2001, p. 73), “The more we use both systems of representation—linguistic and non-linguistic [image-mode]—the better we are able to think about and recall knowledge. It has even been shown that explicitly engaging students in the creation of nonlinguistic representations stimulates and increases activity in the brain.”