Imagery Strategies

What is an imagery strategy?

Imagery strategies involve activating the memory by taking what is to be learned and creating meaningful visual, auditory, or kinesthetic images of the information.

How can imagery strategies help your students?

Imagery strategies are helpful when a student has some grasp of the information to be learned. Creating images of the information allows for efficient access, and personalizes the learning for the student.

How can you implement imagery strategies to effectively meet the diverse learning needs of students?

Imagery is a highly effective strategy for increasing comprehension. An advantage of imagery is that the learner can use it in a highly individualized manner. Some students will develop imagery strategies on their own. For many students, however, specific instruction on how to develop images will be needed.

A visual imagery strategy for reading comprehension is RIDER (Clark, Warner, Alley, Deshler, Schumaker, Vetter, & Nolan, 1981):

  1. R= Read a sentence
  2. I= Image (make an image)
  3. D= Describe how the new image is different from the last sentence
  4. E= Evaluate (as you make the image, check to be sure it contains everything necessary)
  5. R= Repeat (as you read the next sentence, repeat the steps to RIDE)

Each letter of RIDER is a cue for a specific action that would be appropriate for the student to take in a classroom.

How do you construct your own imagery strategy?

Consider your students' strengths for making images from information, and capitalize on that as much as possible. Visual learners will probably experience the greatest success.

  • Analyze the information where you will apply imagery.
  • Consider whether or not learning the imagery will make your students' learning more efficient.
  • Determine whether you will use visual, auditory, or tactile imagery, or a combination of senses.
  • Ensure that the imagery can address a significant amount of information to be learned.
  • Ensure that the imagery relates well to the task.
  • Present information where imagery will be used.
  • Guide students through making the imagery.
  • Reinforce (a) the students' learning of the material as well as (b) their ability to use imagery.