Make your own free website on

Journey into The Unknown-Early 20th Century Immigration to the United States

Teacher Page

Do you picture what is described in your reading?


Reading Strategy 5 1

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.

Strategy 5: Visualizing Information

Implementation Guide


Social studies textbooks are full of charts, diagrams, pictures, illustrations,

political cartoons, and maps. These visual aids are placed in textbooks to

enhance the learning of the content. In their rush to complete an assignment,

students often skip over the visual information that may actually assist them in

the comprehension process.

Struggling readers often have difficulty "visualizing" ideas presented in

text. Visual information displayed in a social studies textbook can be flipped

over and ignored or studied and incorporated. What students do with the visual

information is the important ingredient to comprehending text.

The more that students are involved in creating the visual image, the

more engaged they will be with the ideas in the text. In this activity students will

gain practice in using and interpreting visual information.

The Strategy in Action

Students should complete the following steps to practice the strategy. Be sure

to pass out copies of Activity Guide 5 before students begin their work.

Step 1: Preview the Text Noting the Visual Information Presented. This

information may be in the form of charts, diagrams, pictures, or

illustrations. In this case, have students view the image of the school

house on the Great Plains. You may either print out the image or have

students view it online.

Step 2: Ask How the Visual Information Relates to the Text or Why the

Author(s) Included This Information. It is important that students create

a link between the text and the visual. Have students note aspects of the

image that they think will be described in the passage.

Step 3: Generate Questions Raised by the Visual Aid. For question 2 of the

activity guide, students should list two to three questions that arise from

the image.

Step 4: Read the Text. Have students read the passage on building

communities on the Great Plains.

Step 5: Go back and Review Visual Aids in the Text. In part B of the activity

guide, students should evaluate whether the visual accurately displays

the most important ideas in the text.


Once students have finished the activity, you may want to have a brief

discussion with them about the assignment. Encourage students to probe how

the visual information in the text aids the reader in comprehension.

Answers to the Student Activity Guide

Reading Strategy 5 2

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.

Part A:

1. Previewing the text, students will notice the picture of students in 1893 in front of

a schoolhouse. They may guess that this text has something to do with schools on

the Great Plains.

2. Questions may vary, but students may include some of the following:

a. Why were the children so serious?

b. Were these all the children in the community? How big was their town?

c. Who built this schoolhouse?

d. Was it used it for other purposes?

Part B:

Students may be able to explain the answers to their questions.

Reading Strategy 5 3

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.


Strategy 5: Visualizing Information

Activity Guide

Part A: Answer the following questions BEFORE you read the text.

1. Preview the text. List below the visual information accompanying this text.

Next, state how this information aids the reader in understanding the text.





2. After studying the visual information with the text, list the questions below

that you would like answered.




Part B: Read the text on building communities on the Plains, view the

accompanying visual information, and complete the activity that follows.

Building Communities on the Great Plains

Communities were an important part of life on the Plains. Many early settlers

found life on their remote farms to be extremely difficult. About her mothers life

as a pioneer. Esther Clark explained: "It took [courage] to live twenty-four hours

at a time, month in and out, on the lonely and lovely prairie." Farmers developed

communities so that they could assist one another in times of need.

One of the first things that many pioneer communities did was establish

a local church and a school. Churches served as gathering places for pioneer

families. Even small communities made an effort to get schools started. Many

communities raised money and ran the schools themselves. One woman

Reading Strategy 5 4

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.

recalled proudly, "They [the school board] and the pupils and I build that school

house with our own hands."

Pioneer schools were usually small one-room buildings where children

of all ages learned together in one class. Few children had schoolbooks, and

many children went to school only part of the year because they had to help with

farmwork. Most teachers in these pioneer schools were young women who

made little money.

Frontier families worked very hard to provide a community for

themselves and for their children. Through these efforts, more people found the

West an appealing place to live and raise a family.

List the type of visual information with the text again and state in what ways it

was helpful (or not) in understanding the text.





Reading Strategy 5 5

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.