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100 Powerful Learning Specialist and Educational Therapy Materials

This week I wanted to tell you about my online store, Good Sensory Learning. I’m Dr. Erica Warren, and I established this site so I could share all the materials that I have created over the last 20+ years as a learning specialist and educational therapist. When I first began my private practice, Learning to Learn, I had great difficulty finding fun and multisensory materials for my students that were effective and engaging. So back in 2005, I made it my mission to design and distribute high-end, remedial products as well as memorable, motivating lessons that bring delight to learning. If you would like to try a free sampling of my activities , CLICK HERE . How Are the Products Organized at Good Sensory Learning? You can download my Free Printable Catalog or you can browse the site using the grey “search all products” bar in the top right of any page with keywords such as dyslexia, working memory, and executive functioning. What’s more, drop down menus in the red banner allow you t

Why Visualization Skills Offer Key Benefits for Students

In the classroom, many students are discouraged from using their imaginations or visualization skills, because, in the past, they have used mental imagery to escape the lesson.  However, when kids learn how to take the reins of their imagination and tame their mind's eye, they can use mental images as well as their inner voice to drop into the teachable moment.
Child visualizing reading at school

What is Visualization?

Visualization is the mind's ability to create internal images.  Like a dream or a movie, it's the capacity to imagine objects, experiences, or solutions on one's inner sketchpad.  Some learners have a strong mind's eye and they can easily visualize past memories, ideas, or coming events.  Other's can struggle with what I call a blind mind's eye, and they need to develop this skill with explicit instruction.  As a result, there is a large continuum of abilities.

How Can You Assess a Student's Visualization Abilities?

If you would like to evaluate a learner's baseline or current capabilities, let me suggest that you use my visualization screener in my publication, Mindful Visualization for Learning.  Once you give the assessment, you will have a clear idea of each learner's capabilities, and you can also use the publication to define the focus of instruction.

How Can Visualization Help Students Learn and Recall Lessons?

Visualization is an amazing cognitive tool that can help learners develop the following skills:
  • Working memory uses mental imagery to hold and manipulate information.  For example, a student could visualize a long multiplication problem to help them work through the steps to the solution.
  • Memory at large can use mental imagery to encode and retrieve information both into and out of the long-term memory.
  • Reading comprehension is enhanced greatly when students visualize stories and other texts.  Many avid readers report that they can get lost in their mental imagery and feel as though they are in the story.  In contrast, when learners don't use this skill while reading, their minds tend to wander, and most come to dislike the process.  A great analogy is going to a movie with your eyes closed.  That would be tedious.  Likewise, reading without visualizing the content is often described as boring and monotonous.  
  • Attention is also improved, because if one is visualizing the academic content, then they are paying attention.    
  • Motivation for learning can also be enhanced with visualization skills as it makes learning content less effortful.  As the adage goes, "A picture says a thousand words."
    Happy student learning to visualize

How Can I Teach This Needed Skill to My Students?

Visualization is one of the most important skills that we can teach our students, and I believe that it is as valuable as reading and writing.  If I was to create my own elementary curriculum, I would spend a year teaching students how to use their mind's eye before introducing them to basic literacy skills.  If they could develop their visualization skills to automaticity, then they could easily apply it to reading and writing as well as all other academic subjects.  

If you would like assistance with teaching this vital skill, I offer a number of resources that can help you share this secret weapon to learning.  Click on the following links to learn more.
Clearly, visualization is a wonderful technique that can enhance the learning potential of learners of all ages and abilities.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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