Visualizing and Background Knowledge

Last night I read the YA mystery, Deathwatch, by Robb White.  It was an interesting survival-in-the-desert-while-being-hunted novel, but I had great difficulty visualizing two scenes. deathwatch The clunks bothered me as I felt they held the key to whether the book was realistically written or not.

To solve my clunks I realized I needed to beef up my background knowledge on rock climbing, and then almost physically re-enact the scenes.  I decided to enlist my class in solving my clunk and so made copies of the pages: Building background knowledge to visualize a difficult scene

Monday, they’ll go online to investigate climbing chimneys and funnels, then use that background knowledge to help them visualize and sketch the scenes–working in small groups.   On Tuesday, I’ll give them even a more difficult task, that of building background knowledge for another difficult scene and determining whether or not the scene is realistically written: Building background knowledge to visualize a difficult scene2

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Do y’all have any ideas to share about helping students visualize when they read?

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