Manipulating Objects and Figures to Visualize a Narrative.
When readers manipulate objects after reading a story it usually results in improved mental imagery and reading comprehension outcomes. Children are more able to retain imagined pictures of story events after they have used object manipulations even after several days. Object manipulation actively links read text information to the reader’s own background experiences and provides an effective memory strategy that enhances comprehension and recall of story ideas and events.
After reading a story children can be given plastic figures and props such as trees, fences, and houses to simulate and interpret the events of a story that they have enjoyed. In other words, a story character's world will become more concrete and comprehensible when objects are used in conjunction with narratives that children have read or heard. Having children manipulate objects after reading to represent characters and their actions will improve their understanding because it makes the visualising of story content more concrete and imaginable.
The process is just as important as the product. When children cooperatively simulate story events with objects and describe the actions of figures it enables the linking of words and ideas to objects. It also enables them to more easily visualise story ideas and relationships. Rich discussion can enhance the vividness of mental imagery and enables readers to project their own thoughts and feelings in a way that seems quite natural. The manipulating of objects in space and the rich talk that accompanies these actions should not be thought of as just a way to develop a scene or an end product but should be part of this complex learning process.
10 other ideas using manipulatives:
- Make a diorama
- Use a cardboard theatre with cardboard figures to develop a play
- Use a puppet theatre with puppets and props
- Use plasticine to make figures and scenes
- Buy a set of plastic figures and objects to make the scenes
- Use a felt board and cut out felt figures to create a scene
- Dress-up and act out the scene
- Make figures and object with clay or play dough
- Paint a series of pictures to illustrate the story
- Draw a cartoon with captions and speech bubbles