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Using Visualization Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension

Martha Coen-Cummings, PhD, CCC-SLP

February 27, 2017



What are some visualization strategies that can be used to improve reading comprehension?


Visualization strategies help a reader develop a mental image of what is being described in a story or text. The sophisticated artwork in picture books can be used with children of all ages, not just younger children, to help them see how words and images connect.  With visualization, the first step is to explain to the child what visualization is, that what is described in the text will help them remember what they read.  Next, a pre-story task is conducted where the child is asked to examine a scene in the story they are reading.  Then the scene is removed and the child is asked to visualize it on their own.  Finally, the clinician reads a sentence to the child and describes what she “sees”.  The clinician then chooses sections from the text and asks the student to practice visualizing and discussing what they see.  These visualization techniques are designed to help students make references so that it is easier for them to recall information. 

Please refer to the SpeechPathology.com course, Reading Comprehension Strategies, presented in partnership with Cincinnati Children's  for more in-depth information on strategies designed to improve a student's reading comprehension.

martha coen cummings

Martha Coen-Cummings, PhD, CCC-SLP

Martha Coen-Cummings, PH.D. CCC-SLP graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in 1984, and 1985 respectively. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati, in 1994 with minors in Management and Statistics. Her main clinical specialty areas of voice disorders and treatment of language processing disorders in children diagnosed with (C)APD have led to numerous presentations at the local, state, national, and inter-national levels. Martha has served in numerous elected positions and committees in the local and state professional associations that she has joined. She held President positions in the following professional associations; Southwest Speech and Hearing Association, the Northern KY Speech and Hearing Association, and the Ohio Speech Language Hearing Association (OSLHA). 
She has been employed in the Division of Speech Language Pathology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for over 25 years. She is currently the Coordinator of the Outpatient Mason Speech Language Pathology department, was nominated in 2010 for the hospital's Woman of the Year award, and in 2014 nominated for the Cincinnati Inquirer's Woman of the Year award. Also in 2010 she was chosen as one of Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Jefferson Awards winners for her active volunteerism. She received the department's Director's Award for Excellence in December, 1999, the Ohio Speech and Hearing Association's "Elwood Chaney Outstanding Clinician Award in 2007, was named Fellow of the Association in 2008, and Honors of the Association in 2012. She has also 
completed the ASHA's Leadership in Healthcare program. 

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