Literacy through visualizing

One of the things that has stuck with me about readers is that good readers “see” the novel like a movie in their heads where emerging readers are so focused on the words that they don’t form mental images.  It’s true!  When I see a movie, I get mad if the characters don’t look like they did in my mind!  So how can I make that kind of a connection with a novel we are reading in Spanish class??

We are starting La Hija del Sastre from today in Spanish 3.  To practice visualizing, I am using this anchor chart:

I found the idea by searching literacy on Pinterest!!

So I selected quotes from the novel that I thought would elicit strong feelings from my emerging readers (don’t forget that as language learners, they are ALL focused more on meaning than on comprehension!).  I posted these lines and as we read the chapter I stopped and asked them to become Emilia.  How was she feeling, what did this look like?  

We added their thoughts on the master poster (it did not get as deep as I’d hoped BUT it was their first time so we have a starting point for the next round!)

The chapter went so well!  They were really focused on the details!!! I give it 1.5 thumbs up!  A two next time when they start to dig deeper!

All ready to go for my next group!  Will update with their thoughts!  They can be very deep….  *update MUCH better the second class!  I think I guided better!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

2 thoughts

  1. Thanks for this great idea. I will try it next year as a post reading activity as a class. I have found having them do dual entry diaries while they read has helped me see their comprehension of this book. They write a page number and the start of a paragraph and they either write what they visualize or what this makes them wonder as they read. Great way to interact while reading too.

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