A salient feature of strong reading is ‘picturing’, a fostering of words to create a visual terrain in our heads. We stroll along in a story, adding detail after detail, slowly shaping, ‘drawing’, or seeing a room, a chair, and conversation. We hear the words in what we imagine. We abstract from letters, worlds. A process in time. A skill in need of practice. As teachers we want to cultivate this participation, this move from letters on the page to figures in our minds.
How might a visual activity bring to light the power of words, the power of participation? Even in the 19th Century in our School Readers and Primers we wove together words and images, picturing and story, seeing and telling. Here’s one example from a Appletons’ School Readers Third Primer (1887).