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Use Visualization to Remember or Understand


Reading Study Skills & Tools Universal Design for Learning Middle/High School Strategy


Working Memory Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Use Visualization to Remember or Understand

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt.
— Helen Keller

Create a mental picture in your mind while you are reading, listening or solving a problem to help you understand and remember the details.

How To Apply It!

Stop at a key point in your reading and create a mental picture of the scene or concept. Try to use all five senses to make the memory as vivid as possible.

In your mental picture, think of similarities to familiar people or places. For example, the street in the story might remind you of where your friend lives.The more details and comparisons, the more likely you are to remember and have contextual meaning.

Sketch what you visualize if it comes naturally and efficiently. Save and re-use that sketch when you need to review later.

When you need to remember the information later, pause and re-create the picture in your mind. Think back on all the specific details you visualized.

Don't overuse it. Visualization takes extra time, so save it for when there are lot of details you must remember or there's a complex idea that you are having difficulty understanding.

Math Examples When reading a word problem stop and visualize the situation and what they are asking you to find. When looking at a math equation, visualize what it represents. If addition is 3+4, visualize an example of 3 and 4 together to make 7.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Learning to create a vivid mental picture is a proven way to increase retention. Developing detailed mental pictures actually takes time but once you learn how to do it, this technique can help you effectively remember specific details of what you're read, seen or heard. This active learning approach helps students stay engaged with the text and make sense of and remember complex story lines, sequences of events and factual information.