Using mental images

Good readers create mental images as they read to deepen the meaning of the text. This is often referred to as the "movie in your head". Many readers include more than visual images, however - sounds, smells, taste, and touch can all add to the experience of a text.

Proficient readers:

  • use images to make emotional connections to the text
  • adapt their images as they read to include new information
  • use images to immerse themselves in rich detail as they read

Sample Lessons:

Anchor charts:





Once students begin attending to sensory details in their reading,
they begin to include it in their own writing as well.


Collecting "beautiful language" found during independent reading

Forms and Resources:

Texts for Teaching Mental Imagery:

  • Close Your Eyes by Jean Marzollo
  • Color Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen
  • Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky by Georgia Heard
  • Footprints and Shadows by Anne Westcott Dodd
  • Goodnight to Annie by Eve Merriam
  • Greyling by Jane Yolen
  • Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe
  • I Am the Ocean by Suzanna Marshak
  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  • Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
  • Night Sounds, Morning Colors by Rosemary Wells
  • Putting the World to Sleep by Shelley Moore Thomas
  • Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher
  • Quiet, Please by Eve Merriam
  • The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
  • Say Something by Mary Stoltz
  • The Zoo At Night by Martha Robinson

Comprehension Resources:

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