Cognitive Quick Tips: Visualization at Home and in the Classroom

Some of you visual learners out there might believe that visualization is something you just do, not teach.  For some students, however, visualization skills may not be so automatic.


Does your child or student struggle with reading comprehension?


Do you ever notice him whispering the words to himself as he reads?  There’s nothing wrong with this strategy.  Whispering may be an attempt to gain better understanding through auditory input, especially if his strengths lie in auditory processing.  Perhaps he simply hasn’t learned to visualize yet.


Even if your child already creates mental images with ease, here’s a fun visualization activity for kids who have already mastered basic visual memory skills.  If they haven’t, please start here: Visual Memory at Home and in the Classroom.





Quick Tip: Visual Tic Tac Toe


Create a tic tac toe grid.  Fill it with the numbers 1-9, like you see here.


In case you don’t want to go through the trouble, I’ve made a printable grid for you. Click here to download: Tic Tac Toe GridsAcrobat 5.0 or later is required.


Show your child the number grid.  Ask her to take a picture of it in her mind and remember the position of the numbers.


When she has her mental image, take the number grid away.  Use a blank tic tac toe grid (included in the above download) to confirm.  “Show me where the 3 is” or “What number goes here?” will help you know for sure.


Now you’re ready to play.


Using your blank grid, take turns visualizing where to place your X and O marks.  You say “X on 9,” she says “O on 5,” etc. until someone achieves three in a row.  The winner gets to physically fill in the grid and draw a line through the winning row!


Then play again.  I recommend using dry erase markers with a white board or sheet protector.  You’ll save a lot of paper that way.


Hint:  To simplify this activity, skip the numbers grid entirely and physically point to the box on a blank grid where you wish to place your mark.  Students who are less visual may even wish to trace their invisible mark with their finger.  Allow their tactile preference to help build their visualization skills.



Quick Tip: Visual Tic Tac Toe


Divide your classroom into the X team and the O team and follow the instructions for the AT HOME version of Visual Tic Tac Toe above.


Hint:  To increase the challenge, instead of using numbers sneak in a few pictures or words onto the grid.  Make sure the words have a pictorial component.  For instance, use the word “balloon,” which is easy to visualize, rather than “become.”


Final instruction…


Have fun!


More in the Cognitive Quick Tips Series:

Visual Memory at Home and in the Classroom

Auditory Memory at Home and in the Classroom

Visual Memory at Home and in the Classroom Part 2

Auditory Memory at Home and in the Classroom Part 2