Now that your first grader is almost halfway through first grade, we will be working on a reading skill called Visualizing. It teaches a child to create pictures in his/her mind when he/she is reading. Your child will learn to ‘see’ in his mind what he/she is reading in text. He will learn to ‘feel’ what he/she is reading. It is just like having an ongoing movie in his/her mind. We are teaching your child what some of the main events in the story would look like if they were happening in real life. Being able to do this helps your child to better understand what has been read. Many first graders are still just ‘calling words’ without attaching any meaning to what has been read. Your child will consciously be using the words to create a picture in his/her mind. On a personal note, I remember when I took 2 of my children to see the movie The Indian in the Cupboard. They had both read the book and had eagerly awaited the release of the film. In the first few moments of the movie when the Indian was revealed, both of my children said out loud in the theater “that is NOT what he looks like!” Visualization skills were at work. Both children had created a mental picture of what they thought the Indian should look like and both were bitterly disappointed that their own vision was not recognized by Hollywood. Try it with your own child at home. After he/she has read a chapter, a book or a few pages, ask him/her to draw a picture of what he/she was seeing in his/her mind when reading. The pictures will be able to show you if your child is grasping what has been read, or needs to pay closer attention to the text.