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Illustrations by Early Readers - Using Teacher Created Phonetic Texts to Promote Mental Imagery

Julia Meierding


This study provides several short, phonetic texts that promote the use of mental imagery for second grade students in a suburban Waldorf­inspired general education classroom. The thirty­two students in this classroom were in a wide range of reading stages, including emergent, early, transitional, and fluent. Prior to the study, the students had practiced creating mental images during and after listening to narratives told orally by the teacher. The goal of the project was to provide a meaningful context for the students to practice mental imagery while reading. The teacher designed texts that were aimed at the instructional or reading level of early readers. They followed a familiar narrative structure and made connections to the students’ prior knowledge and experiences. The teacher distributed these texts to the students, explicitly taught how and when to use mental imagery as a reading comprehension strategy, and employed a gradual release of responsibility to encourage independence as they read and illustrated the texts. Students were able to read with accuracy, monitor comprehension, and represent their mental images as drawings.