+ Comprehension Strategy: Sketch-to-Stretch

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Since a majority of students in grades 4 to 6 are beyond the need for decoding instruction, but struggling to understand what they read or hear, visualizing by drawing a sketch may be a key.  “ReadWriteThink” offers lesson plans using a method called “Sketch-to-Stretch.”  (www.readwritethink.org/lessons )

Sketch-to-Stretch is based on the Guided Comprehension Model developed by Maureen McLaughlin and Mary Beth Allen.  Guided Comprehension Model progresses from explicit teaching to independent practice and transfer. 

“Visualizing” involves picturing in your mind what is happening in the text, “making a movie in your head.”  The strategy encourages diverse perspectives and discussion.  It can encourage students to make personal connections to texts.  In addition,  it can be used in a variety of literary formats.

Stage 1 — Teacher-directed (~ 40 minute) lesson

  • Explain the strategy:   Explain what visualizing means.  Read one or two descriptive passages ( for example a passage like one that begins ” ‘There is wind here,’ said Carlos happily…” from Sarah Plain and Tall).  Ask students to visualize a “picture in their heads;” suggest that it’s “brain TV.”  Have students talk about what they visualized.  Explain that everyone has his or her own picture, and that these pictures help them understand what’s happening.
  • Demonstrate the strategy:   After you have finished reading a story or passage, tell students you are going to do a quick sketch of what it means to you.  Draw (quickly) a picture on the board, or on  poster paper, where everyone can see.  Ask students for their interpretations of your picture. (Why do they think you drew that picture? What do they think it means?)  Then give your interpretation of your drawing.  EMPHASIZE that the word “sketch” means quick and not-perfect artwork; the goal is to get their interpretations down without using words.
  •  Guide students to apply the strategy:   Pass out a copy of the picture frame in the “Sketch-to-Stretch” template.  Ask students to quickly sketch their interpretations as they continue listening.  (Find the template at   www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson229/sketch.pdf)
  • Practice individually or in small groups:  Ask students to share their sketches of the story with their group.  The sketcher should hold back her own interpretation until the other group members have had a chance to share their thoughts about her drawing.  Let each group member take a turn showing and hearing/sharing interpretations.
  • Reflect:   Come back to the large group and discuss (1) how did visualizing help them understand the text; (2) how is visualizing similar to or different from watching television; and (3) how does reading differ when they do NOT visualize in their heads compared to when they do?

Stage 2 — Student facilitated independent practice (~ 40 minutes)

  • Divide students into groups — based not on reading level but on similar comprehension needs.
  • Students read their own texts and draw, using the template; they then share with the group.
  • Students reflect on using the visualization strategy.

 Variations: Student-run “centers”

  •  Set up a student-run drama center where someone describes an object while the others close their eyes, try to visualize it, and then guess what it is; and
  • A writing center where students write newspaper articles on the importance of visualizing for sharing and perhaps compiling into a newsletter; and
  • A poetry center where each student reads or listens to a poem, visualizes the meaning using the Sketch-to-Stretch picture frame, and shares the results with the group; then they read all the poems together to see if meaning is more easily understood; and
  • An art center where each student selects a photograph, writes a short, detailed description, and shares it with a partner who sketch-visualizes what the photograph looked like;  then the sketch is compared it to the actual picture.

Stage 3 — Whole group reflection (~ 20 minutes)

  • Talk to students about the strategy.  Ask students to tell why and how sketch-to-stretch helped them better understand the texts.
  • Give students time to share the activities they completed. 
  • Extension:  students might see how others responded to the books they just read at the “Spaghetti Book Club” Web site (http://www.spaghettibookclub.org/), book reviews written by kids for kids.

source: I stumbled on this site and found the technique a great idea.  Try www.readwritethink.org for much, much more!

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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