How to Visualize While Reading. The Importance of Visualizing in Reading.

Visualizing in Reading

Reading is an exciting and rewarding activity, there is no question about it. There are tons of benefits we can enjoy if we are in the habit of reading and a lot of knowledge we can gain. People have been trying to improve on perfection since the dawn of time and that is no different when it comes to reading.

Whether it’s speed reading, memorization techniques to improve information retention, or simply ways to enhance the experience, people have been trying to come up with a whole bunch of new ways to enjoy reading and get the best of the experience. 

One of the aspects that have always been a great part of the experience is visualizing in reading. Learning how to visualize while reading can help you tremendously and that is why the team here at Basmo has dedicated time and resources to provide you with the most important information you will need. 

First things first. Obviously, the very first step is understanding what visualizing while reading actually means.

What is visualizing in reading?

Reading visualization is the process of trying (and succeeding) to create mental images of the things we read, while we read them. It represents an important tool to improve reading comprehension, one that comes with a wide range of benefits, providing readers with endless possibilities to enhance the reading experience.

The mental pictures created while reading allow the reader to gain a much deeper understanding of the text and will also improve the level of information retention. Seeing with your mind’s eye the things you read about can also make the reading experience a lot more intense, enjoyable, and exciting. 

The interesting thing about visualizing while reading is that everyone can do it. Well, actually, mostly everyone. There is a certain neurological health condition called aphantasia which prevents people from being able to visualize anything with their mind’s eye. Unless you’re suffering from this (rather rare) condition, you shouldn’t have any problems learning how to visualize while reading, without putting too much effort into it.

Looking for examples of visualizing in reading? Well, imagine you are reading a book where the main character has a specific appearance (a scar, tattoos). Visualizing while reading about it would involve you actually creating a mental picture of the appearance of the character. What he looks like, how he moves, how he acts. Similarly, if the author puts an accent on a certain location from the book, visualizing it would mean trying to imagine exactly what that place looks like. 

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Why is visualizing important in reading?

Visualizing while reading is, first and foremost, a very powerful learning tool. When used in classrooms under the supervision of an experienced teacher, it can yield pretty amazing results in students who are struggling with reading and comprehension. 

More importantly, visualizing forces up to tap deeper into our brain’s capabilities. By pushing ourselves to create mental pictures of the things we read, we force our brains into a more complex process. We access our deeper knowledge, we create connections between the newly acquired information and the information we already have, and we force ourselves to pay a lot more attention to the reading we are doing, which helps both comprehension and retention.

Using the sensory details we gather from what we are reading, we can use our imagination to create mental images of the characters involved in the action, and the places described in the book, and experience the story at a much deeper level. We become more connected to what we are reading, we get more involved in the way the story unfolds, and we start looking beyond the actual words, understanding the information in a more significant manner. 

The importance of visualizing in reading comprehension is clearly not to be neglected and that is one of the reasons you should make the effort to actually learn how to correctly and efficiently visualize the things you are reading. 

How to visualize while reading?

Learning how to efficiently visualize while reading can have a major impact on your reading habits. By visualizing the things you read, you will enjoy your reading more, you will gain a higher level of comprehension, and you will ensure a much deeper and more meaningful reading experience. 

Here’s how you should proceed with the process of improving your visualization skills.

1. Start small

If you are just becoming aware of your abilities to visualize what you read and you are just getting started with the process of improving these skills, the best approach would be to start small. Instead of focusing and trying to visualize entire paragraphs or the stories you read as a whole, take it one step at a time.

Visualize one or two sentences at a time. Try to pay attention to every single word you read and whatever clues you receive from the texts. These clues are going to play a huge role in how accurate your mental image is going to become. Be mindful of the tiniest details the author includes in the sentences you are trying to visualize and take your time trying to recreate the information as images in your mind’s eye. 

2. Read the right books

Another extremely important thing to factor in when getting started with the process of improving visualization is what you are reading. As you can imagine, visualizing poetry is a whole lot more difficult than visualizing a descriptive novel. For starters, you should choose easy-to-read books like action-packed thrillers, teen fiction, or even romance books. 

Keeping your general reading separate from the reading you do solely to improve your visualization skills is going to be important. Luckily for you, Basmo’s main purpose is to make everything reading-related a lot easier for you. Our reading tracking app comes feature-packed to the brim and focuses on solving modern problems for the modern reader.

One of the features that is going to be of tremendous help in your visualization improvement process is the reading lists section of the app. This allows you to create countless personalized reading lists, which is going to encourage you to properly organize your reading material either by genre, author, or the purpose of your reading session.

If you’re serious about improving your visualization skills, you can easily create a separate reading list filled with titles that are ideal for your purpose.

3. Read what you love

The key to improving any of your skills is to find joy in working towards achieving your goals. If you take no pleasure in making the efforts required to improve yourself, you are a lot less likely to succeed. 

That being said, learning to properly visualize when you are reading is no different. You should find ways to make the process enjoyable and that generally starts with reading books you love. Reading with a clear purpose to improve your visualization skills is going to require a certain mental effort, so you shouldn’t hesitate to try and decrease its impact. 

For example, you can re-read a book you loved the first time around. Re-reading and making an effort to visualize what you are reading is going to make the experience quite different so you can rest assured, boredom is not going to be an issue. You are likely to discover new details, you are going to gain a much deeper understanding of the book, and you are going to love it even more if you add the visualization aspect to the experience. Again, using the reading lists feature from the Basmo app is going to be of great help.

4. Be organized

Adding a certain structure to your reading habits is going to make the process of improving your visualization skills a lot smoother. You should be able to know how you progress, how hard you’re working, and whether that work is paying off.

Basmo can help with all these things. First, it encourages you to set a schedule for your reading sessions and gives you the option to do it a lot easier than you might expect. 

The app includes a scheduling feature that allows you to select the days of the week you want to use for your reading sessions, and you can even choose different times of day for each session so you can work around your regular routines.

On top of this, Basmo records all your reading sessions, tracks your reading speed and other KPIs, and gives you a very clear idea of your reading performance. If you use this paired with the note-taking or journaling features, you can have all the relevant information about your reading and visualization performance in one place.

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5. Read more, but slower

Increasing the amount of reading you are doing is going to play a huge role in developing your ability to visualize while reading. But that is not going to work by itself, you are going to give yourself more time to process the information, to try to imagine the things you are reading about, and to create mental images. 

That being said, while practicing is essential, you should also be mindful of your reading speed. You should read slower, pay attention to details, and focus more on the journey than the destination. It doesn’t matter how many pages you read in one hour, what matters is that you manage to visualize all the information you are receiving. 

6. Make use of your personal memories

Our visualization abilities are deeply rooted in our own experiences. Can you think of a new color? Can you imagine a new smell? Of course not. Imagination has a solid base in our actual experience. You can imagine a new type of car that hasn’t been invented yet, but some of its characteristics are going to need to be rooted in reality: its color, the materials it is made of, or the sounds it makes. 

Taking that into account, you shouldn’t hesitate to use your own experience and memories whenever you are visualizing what you’re reading. For example, if the action of the book takes place in London and you’ve just returned from a city break, you are going to have a much easier task in front of you. 

What is the visualizing strategy in reading?

The visualization strategy is mainly a comprehension improvement strategy. It is used mainly by teachers to help students develop better reading and comprehension skills, as an entertaining and effective exercise. Whether it’s a group practice done in class with clear guidelines or an individual assignment with more imaginative freedom, the effects can be seen quite quickly. 

You can take advantage of this strategy yourself, even if you are long out of school though. By improving your ability to visualize while reading, you can start enjoying your favorite activity at a much deeper level, and your retention and comprehension levels are going to improve considerably. 

Final thoughts

Learning how to visualize while reading is going to considerably change the way you experience your reading sessions. Take advantage of this strategy to improve your performance and make use of all the amazing features the Basmo app has to offer.

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