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Using Five Senses


Skilled readers often become effortlessly immersed in a text, and they experience a story almost as if the events were really happening to them. However, less-skilled readers generally struggle to experience such immersion, and even the best readers may struggle to maintain basic attention when a text is particularly challenging or unappealing. By reading using five senses, readers learn to strategically experience a text in a full and immersive manner even when such immersion does not come automatically to them.


By using five senses to experience a text, students are able to visualize and imagine the events of a text through a first-person lens. This process helps them to understand and remember the actions, emotions, and motivations of the characters, and to engage with the text emotionally. Students who use five senses are often able to arrive at surprising insights into a story because they are able to imagine the events as if they had experienced them themselves. Finally, using five senses often meets the needs of students who struggle to learn through language by providing other modalities of engaging with text.

Content Area Adaptations 

Using five senses is an important skill for students to use when engaging with challenging text across the content areas. It can be hugely beneficial when studying history and the sciences in particular, since it can bring to vivid life phenomena that might otherwise seem distant and opaque.

Learning Strategies 

  • Inferring
  • Visualizing