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Visualizing and Verbalizing Increases Comprehension

Jan. 29, 2013

Students at the middle school level can get stuck in their reading comprehension at a 4th or 5th grade level. They often learn to decode the words, but the overall picture of the story eludes them. They show difficulty with delving into the deeper, richer meaning of books and text, as well as developing essential critical thinking skills for problem solving. Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V) is a learning program that helps students improve reading comprehension, language comprehension, and higher order thinking skills by developing the ability to create mental imagery for the language they read and hear, and to create an imaged gestalt (imagery for the big picture, or whole). This mental imagery for language is called concept imagery, and it is essential to comprehension skills.

Individuals with weak concept imagery may have difficulty comprehending what they read, even if their reading skills are otherwise unimpaired. These individuals may have trouble following directions, or expressing their own ideas in an organized manner. V/V® instruction can help these individuals connect language to mental imagery and enable them to make a significant, measurable improvement in language comprehension.

The Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V) program is the product of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. Patricia Lindamood and Nanci Bell are the authors of research validated instructional program that teaches children and adults to read, spell, comprehend, thinking critically and express language. Through a $551 Education Foundation of Wauwatosa (EFW) grant, Peggy Hamby was able to purchase materials in order to offer the V/V program at Whitman Middle School.

Since implementing this program this school year, Hamby has observed several different results. She has been able to make some strong therapeutic decisions based on how well the student is able to verbalize their imaging. For some students, it has meant that Hamby provides more foundation work to allow them to describe their thoughts better. For others, this program has been a good tool that allows them to efficiently and effectively verbalize their thoughts. Both scenarios have been very strong learning tools for Hamby, as their therapist, to determine their verbal abilities as well as their level of comprehension when hearing and reading information.

One student has progressed from being unable to produce one full complete sentence without having to revise it and restate it several times to being able to produce a complete, accurate recall of a 5 sentence paragraph with correct comprehension of the main idea and all of the details. Another student said, “It’s a lot of fun. It lets me describe the picture that’s in my head better. I can tell my friends about a car that I’ve seen and they can see it too.”

For more information on this or the other 15 grants awarded this school year, visit our website at

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