Experiences and pictures : using visual imagery and background knowledge to improve reading comprehension

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McDonald, Shannon
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2001
Background knowledge and visual imagery can be combined to improve comprehension through discussions, semantic webbing, retelling and summarizing. Both parts of the brain store experiences. Language ignites the left side of the brain which is sequential, while senses and feelings are stored on the right side which is abstract and wholistic. Both sides need to be activated when reading to develop comprehension to the fullest. By picturing a story in your mind, you activate schema that activates feelings, and sensory impressions of experiences you have had. Knowing how to activate, monitor and question or change schema is what makes a good reader. This case study is with a fourth grade boy who is reading independently at a mid-grade two level. The study consisted of 26, one-hour sessions conducted twice a week after school. Strategies using background knowledge and visual imagery were taught to improve his reading level to a fifth grade level as measured by Alberta Diagnostic Reading, 1986. Discussion brought forth the student's background know ledge. A semantic web of the plot, characters, and setting was drawn before reading of the text. Throughout the story, the student was asked to keep a movie of the story going in his head. Oral retelling, predicting and inferencing took place throughout the story with a full retelling of the story at the end. Character comparisons were made between the books and experiences the student had. A fully developed movie of the story was created by using experiences the student had and combining the sensory and emotional events with the story to make it come alive and be more meaningful. The boy's reading comprehension improved from a mid-grade two to beginning grade five level.
viii, 139 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Reading comprehension , Imagery (Psychology) in children , Reading (Elementary)