Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Visualizing What They Read

Some children may need to read about things in their recent, direct experience to learn to visualize when they read.

This morning I found this posted on Adventures in Freelancing concerning going back to college as an adult:

As an adult student I think I have an opportunity to “get” more
out of college than I did as a 21 year-old who hadn’t found herself
yet. My real life learning (can I call that street cred?) and
experiences help me to process the information better. The lessons
carry a different depth to them and more relevance.

I think the opening statement ties in with her sentiments. This is exactly what I noticed with D and with his brother CC; they were able to read and understand reading much better if they already had experienced the subject of the material directly. (Big A would likely have profited from this as well but he was my first and I didn't know yet.) CC was fourteen years old, able to read quite well but unable to get anything out of it and hated reading intensely. Somehow he had never learned to have a picture in his head of what he was reading, he was just reading words. He couldn't understand the concept of doing so from me, for some reason when his brother Ky explained it, it worked. Later when I showed D how to read, I realized the cute cartoon figures and illustrations did nothing for him, we did better using short stories about places he had been recently himself, or about a boy close to his age doing something D had recently done or discovered. He's still not the best at it but for a history lesson as an example, watching a movie first that gives some life-like visuals makes a major difference for him. He needs help to associate what he reads with something he already knows, then the new information makes sense to him. He doesn't make these associations naturally if it's not about science, things he thinks about on his own, I still need to work on that with him.