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Sketch to Sketch


In this activity, adapted from Kelley’s Comprehension Shouldn’t Be Silent (2007), students will draw an image from a story the teacher reads aloud. The purpose of this activity is to help build listening comprehension and improve visualizing and summarizing.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Visualizing
Making Meaning, Sequencing, Text-Self / Text-Text / Text-World Connections

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading
  • Writing

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Academic Vocabulary
  • Balancing Informative and Literary Texts


Select a text to read aloud. Select a text passage to use as model.

Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce Sketch to Sketch.

    Introduce this activity to students by reminding them that they will be using three different strategies in this activity: listening, summarizing, and visualizing. Ask the discussion question, “How can these strategies help you understand a reading?”

  2. Model a sketch.

    Ask for a student volunteer to read the model text passage. As the student reads, listen and take a few notes on the board. After the student has completed the reading, draw a summary of what the student read. Think aloud while drawing to show students what you included and why. This is also an opportunity to stress that students will not be judged on their drawing abilities.

  3. Read aloud.

    The teacher will read the text aloud. Encourage students to write down notes that will help them when they begin to draw. These notes should be details for their drawings. For example, if the text was set in a forest, students could write down “trees.”

  4. Sketch.

    Students will sketch a summary of the reading. Remind students to use their notes to help them include important details.

  5. Conduct peer share-out.

    Ask students to pair up, share, and explain their drawings. Ask them, “What did you include in your drawing? Why?”

  6. Conduct whole-class share-out.

    During the peer share-out, the teacher can circulate and select a few drawings to share with the class. Students will explain their drawings to the whole class.

  7. Reflect.

    · How did this activity help you better understand the text? · Which strategy (listening, summarizing, visualizing) helped you the most? Explain your answer using specific examples.

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