Your child will practice making pictures in their mind as you read a book together. Then you and your child will watch the movie adaptation of the book and compare their mental images to the movie.
Before you read:
Tell your child, “Some books have illustrations that help us see what the author pictured while they wrote a story, but other books have no pictures and we have to make the pictures in our mind. This is something that good readers do! I’m going to read a short story to you. While I read, close your eyes and try to make pictures in your mind:
I hold my dad’s strong hand as cars, trucks, vans, and buses zoom and vroom past each other. Their tires padump-padump-padump-padump on the street and some even SCREEEEEEEECH to a stop when the traffic light turns red. Cool rain starts to tickle my skin as it falls fast, making puddles I can stomp and splash! We wait at the corner until it’s safe to walk across the street.”
When you finish the passage, talk about some of the sensory details. Ask your child which things they can picture. What could they hear, feel, see, and smell? Children use sensory information like this (what something looks, feels, smells, tastes, and/or sounds like) to make connections to text that they read. When your child uses their senses and memory skills together while reading, they will understand the text more deeply and remember more of what they read.
“You can make pictures in your mind when you read any book! While we read this book together, I want you to use your imagination to see what the author wants readers to see. When we finish the book, we’ll watch the movie to compare the pictures in our head to the pictures on screen.” Before you read, show your child the cover art and talk about it.
If your child is able, share the task of reading with them. If the chapter book has an illustration before each chapter, show that to your child because it will help them make mental images. Pause occasionally to have your child describe the pictures in their mind as best they can. Note your child’s descriptions using sticky notes to mark pages where your child has vivid mental pictures. These might be pages with many sensory details (what they can imagine hearing, feeling, tasting, seeing, or smelling) or an event that your child likes. Talk about how the pictures in their mind have changed as they read more of the story.
When you finish the book, on the same day or another day, watch the movie adaptation together. Before you watch, you might ask your child,
After you watch the movie, compare and contrast the movie and the book. Go back to the pages with sticky notes and talk about whether your child’s mental pictures matched up to the film adaptation.
Encourage your child to make pictures in their mind every time you read together! You can repeat this activity with another book/movie pair.