Support for the Classroom

 
 

Free Downloadable Resources—Looking for resources to support your instruction in developing the imagery-language connection for your students? We've got fun-filled lesson packets and sample chapters from teacher's manuals to bolster your instruction. Supplemental lesson packets feature high-imagery stories, vocabulary, Higher Order Thinking questions, puzzles, and more! Sample chapters offer educators a sneak peek at our unique programs, all based on dual-coding theory, and helpful tips on how to incorporate the concept into instruction.

Videos—Curious about how to use our programs in your classroom? These videos provide an overview of select products and feature Teacher Tips on how to best integrate programs into your instruction.

Tips for Instruction—We know how busy you are! Our Tips for Instruction are designed for educators who are familiar with our programs or those who are interested in learning more about the imagery-language connection for reading, comprehension, and math. Tips are presented in a format for quick reference with the option to learn more.

 
 

Downloadables

 

Enjoy the waddling goodness of Penguins! This Imagine That! Stories free lesson packet is sure to please all ages.

Features informational text stories from Imagine That! Stories, vocabulary practice, higher order thinking (HOT) questions, imagery questions, a writing prompt, puzzles, coloring page, and additional online links to explore, including conservation sites.

 

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Download this free lesson packet featuring an Imagine That! Paragraph by Paragraph biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as vocabulary practice, higher order thinking (HOT) questions and exercises, imagery questions, and puzzles.

 

Celebrate National Cat Day!

Here's a fun-filled packet full of stories, puzzles, and coloring, focusing on our favorite felines. Read this packet of informational high-imagery stories (while you cuddle a cat, if you can!).

 

You've never seen animals like this! You can't imagine how odd these critters really are!

Features informational text stories from Imagine That! Stories, vocabulary practice, higher order thinking (HOT) questions, puzzles, and coloring page. Color or black and white packet is available for download.

 

Fun stories for the whole family!

Features informational text stories from Imagine That! Stories, vocabulary practice, higher order thinking (HOT) questions, puzzles, and coloring page.

 

Seeing Stars® Free Chapter

The Seeing Stars® program develops symbol imagery—the ability to visualize sounds and letters in words—as a basis for orthographic awareness, phonemic awareness, word attack, word recognition, spelling, and contextual reading fluency.

 

On Cloud Nine® Free Chapter

The On Cloud Nine® (OCN) program develops the ability to image and verbalize the concepts and processes of math. Concept imagery and numeral imagery are integrated with language to improve both mathematical reasoning and mathematical computation.

 

Visualizing and Verbalizing® Free Chapter

The Visualizing and Verbalizing® program develops concept imagery—the ability to create an imaged gestalt from language—as a basis for comprehension and critical thinking. The development of concept imagery improves reading and listening comprehension, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing.

 

Talkies® Free Chapter

The Talkies® program is the primer to the Visualizing and Verbalizing program for students who need simpler, smaller steps of instruction to establish the imagery-language connection.

 
 

Videos

 
Imagine That! Stories

The V/V® Imagine That! Stories have nonfiction stories to develop imagery for oral and written language comprehension. These challenging, high-imagery stories introduce true and unusual topics for students to visualize and interpret.


Visualizing and Verbalizing Workbooks

V/V Workbooks have high-imagery stories and questions that help students develop concept imagery for language comprehension and critical thinking. Each story is accompanied by workbook activities.


Seeing Stars Decoding Workbook set

Students need a LOT of decoding practice to develop fluent word attack and word recognition skills. The Seeing Stars Decoding Workbooks provide an excellent and extensive decoding practice for both classroom and clinical settings.

 
 
 

Tips for Instruction

 
 

How to Deliver an Effective Visualizing and Verbalizing Lesson: 3 Tips for Dynamic Instruction

Tip 1: RELEVANT QUESTIONING IS THE ESSENCE OF GOOD V/V.
relevant questioning

The quality of your questioning is the difference between concept imagery developing quickly and accurately, and concept imagery remaining weak and unstable. Remember the Goldilocks principle: not too much, not too little, but just right. Your questions should be focused on the gestalt of the story. Be careful not to over-question for extraneous details that may cause the student to lose the gestalt. Don't assume imagery for the most important concepts—ask just enough detailed questions for the student to prove to you that she really is visualizing the main concepts. Reminder: Read Chapter 19 in your V/V teacher's manual—Relevant Questioning is the Difference.

Tip 2: PACING FOR AUTOMATICITY
VV Tips

Good pacing of V/V requires overlapping of steps. Don't keep your student too long in grade-level material that is too easy, and don't keep your student too long on one step or level of V/V. Rather than complete mastery of a step, look for enough competence to overlap to the next step. Good pacing also means getting the grade level of material just right to differentiate instruction–not too easy and not too difficult. Reminder: Chapter 20 in the V/V manual describes good pacing strategies in more detail.

Tip 3: STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
VV Tips

Students struggling to process language have experienced failure and frustration in school—and often blame themselves. The steps and materials in V/V will naturally encourage student engagement. Here's how:

  • Socratic questioning—respond to a student's response, using positive feedback, which encourages risk taking and reduces fear of making an error. With choice/contrast questions, you can meet ALL students where they are, differentiating your questioning based on their diverse skill sets.

  • Your words made me picture...

    "Active Student Response" strategies can include Action Response (thumbs up/down if your picture matches), Oral Response (pass out Structure Words randomly and each student verbalizes his/her word), and Written Response (use V/V Workbooks for students to write key images).

  • "Think-Pair-Share" can be used after teacher prompts: "What do those words make you picture?"

Learn More About Visualizing and Verbalizing

How to Deliver an Effective Seeing Stars® Lesson:
3 Tips for Dynamic Instruction

Tip 1: DRIVE THE SENSORY BUS
SS Tips

Use language to directly and explicitly stimulate the sensory input of symbol imagery. For example, the language "What letters do you picture for the word 'thought'?" stimulates imagery, whereas the language, "How do you spell 'thought'?" does not.

Tip 2: EMPHASIZE ORTHOGRAPHIC PROCESSING
SS Tips

In Seeing Stars, only a few decoding rules are included (e.g., "When two vowels go walking….") because we don’t learn to read and spell with fluency by memorizing lots of rules. So don’t belabor learning, remembering, and reciting a bunch of rules. Remember your goal is to emphasize orthographic processing. Strengthen symbol imagery with the air-writing strategy and symbol imagery exercises so students can quickly self-monitor and self-correct for independence.

Tip 3: FOCUS ON FLUENCY
SS Tips

Many struggling students, including those with dyslexia, can sound out words and learn syllabication. However word reading is slow and laborious, and they are not independent readers. During the "Decode, Decode, Decode" task, emphasize rapid, accurate word attack and decoding lots of words (the Seeing Stars Decoding Workbooks have 20 words per lesson!). Minimize pauses for word analysis or symbol imagery exercises during this task. When your instruction focus shifts to more contextual reading practice, let a few of the small decoding errors go if they don't impact comprehension of the passage. Your goal now is for the student to experience confidence and fluency while reading in context. Reminder: Read Chapter 17 in your Seeing Stars teacher’s manual –Integration for Contextual Reading Fluency and Comprehension.

Learn More About Seeing Stars

Seven Essential Strategies to Strengthen Language and Literacy Skills for English Learners

by Margaret Towner

What do you picture for "See ya"?

Click here to read more

A teacher stood at her 4th-grade classroom door to say goodbye to her students.
"See ya!" she said.
Maribel looked at her in bewilderment and said, "Silla?"
The teacher nodded and again said, "See ya. See ya tomorrow." 
Maribel nodded her head and left the classroom. The next day she brought several pictures of chairs cut out of magazines, and handed them to her teacher.
"What are these for?" her teacher asked.
"Silla, you tell me silla."

 

For anyone using the Visualizing and Verbalizing® program to develop the imagery-language connection, the above exchange might have you saying "What do those words make you picture?!"

During my time at Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) in Southern California, we helped our high percentage of English Learners (ELs) meet the dual goals of English acquisition and standards-based proficiency. We worked with students like Maribel to provide them with a critical component of language and literacy acquisition: sensory-cognitive instruction.

In partnership with Lindamood-Bell, we utilized the sensory-cognitive strategies in the Seeing Stars® and LiPS® programs to address phonemic awareness, phonics, word recognition, and reading fluency. We developed the imagery-language connection with the Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V®) program to address vocabulary development, listening and speaking skills, language comprehension, writing, and higher order thinking.

These essential strategies perfectly complement, and enhance, existing best practices used with English learners. Here's how:

Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V)

1. Oral Language Development - Learning a second language is a complex process, and the more ELs have opportunities to actively use English in educational settings, the more proficient they will become. V/V engages students in frequent and sequential oral practice. Steps include structured routines where students must visualize and verbalize key details of the text, recall information, sequence events, and paraphrase the story back. During these routines, students are practicing structured language well over 50% of the lesson.

2. Scaffolding - The Socratic questioning method used systematically throughout the V/V process allows you to differentiate and scaffold language depending on the English language proficiency level of students (e.g., Emerging, Expanding, Bridging). This is supported by Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. The levels of linguistic support are adjusted accordingly, from substantial support, to moderate, to light support. For example, Emerging ELs need lots of choice-contrast questioning, teacher modeling, and a heavy emphasis on vocabulary acquisition (the "bricks," to borrow from Susana Dutro's analogy). With Expanding ELs, there is a decrease in your prompting and modeling while transitioning more to open-ended questions. You can expect more verbalization and vocabulary development (now "bricks and mortar").

3. Explicit Vocabulary Development - Vocabulary instruction goes beyond teaching the definition and beyond providing supplemental materials. Exploring language in context—using V/V strategies and dialogue—helps students to practice and anchor new vocabulary and language structures. For example: (T) "For this math problem, what do you picture for the word 'perimeter?'" (S) "I see a shape like a rectangle, and I picture the four separate sides, and then I just add the four sides up to get the answer."

Extra tip: For Spanish speaking students, teach them that this word is a cognate ("el perímetro" in Spanish).

Seeing Stars

4. Foundations of Reading - Seeing Stars systematically develops symbol imagery as a basis for orthographic awareness, phonemic awareness, and overall word reading ability. This is critical for ELs because English is orthographically complex with substantial variability, while other languages like Spanish are more predictable. The English letter "a" for example has a different phoneme/grapheme relation in the following words: "cat," "same," "about," "cart," and "father." English also presents challenges with non-phonetic words like "laugh" or "action." Thus focusing on strategies that emphasize orthographic processing and visual memory, which underlie automatic word recognition and reading fluency, is key to stabilizing the foundations of reading.

5. Frequent Interaction with Phoneme/Grapheme Relationship - Symbol imagery exercises utilized throughout the steps of Seeing Stars provide for frequent interaction and practice with the alphabetic principles of English, and also the phoneme-grapheme relationship. For example, during the Letter Imagery step: (T) shows a consonant/vowel card and takes it away. (S) Air writes the letter(s), says the letter name, and then produces the corresponding sound. This is useful for Spanish speakers, especially for learning vowels, because vowel names and sounds are the same in their primary language.

6. Acceleration - For ELs, symbol imagery and automatic sight word recognition are critical for accelerating decoding skills and attaining fluency. Acceleration is essential for ELs to close the gap between their English acquisition, their reading level, and their grade-level standards. While some word reading rules and expectancies can be helpful (e.g. "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking"), they can also add another level of language complexity and actually slow down the decoding process. Seeing Stars transitions ELs from decoding to high frequency Star Words for instant word recognition and fluency.

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS)

7. Explicit, Multisensory Instruction - When integrated with the Seeing Stars program, LiPS explicitly develops the foundations of reading, using a systematic, multisensory approach to anchor and stabilize sounds and letters, particularly those not transferable from native language to second language. Early "pruning" of the ability to perceive phonemes not present in your primary language makes it difficult to perceive those phonemes in a second language. LiPS provides a concrete, multisensory tool to strengthen phonemic awareness and aid in pronunciation. For example, students can map the /th/ sound, as in the word "Thursday," to a label that matches the articulatory features of that sound—in this case, a Tongue Cooler. This gives ELs concrete language and sensory feedback to assist in discriminating sounds and letters within words.

By adding the missing component of explicit, sensory-cognitive instruction, we have been able to accelerate language and literacy skills for many of our English learners in LBUSD. It is so encouraging to see progress with ELs elsewhere, such as the improvements in Colorado where high EL, low-performing schools have successfully used the programs to accelerate student academic growth. Now more than ever, with the growing number of ELs in our country and the demands of the Common Core, we need to continue improving our instructional practices to meet the language and literacy skills they need and deserve to become successful in school.

Margaret Towner is a former teacher, professional development trainer, and literacy coach for Long Beach Unified School District, specializing in language and literacy development for English Learners throughout her career.

 

 

Resources for the classroom

 

Introducing free resources for busy teachers! Check out videos, downloadable lesson packets, and teacher tips to enhance and support your classroom instruction.

 

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