Storyboard drawing extension… getting them to read (again)!

We all have students draw scenes from stories from time to time as it’s a great way for students to read a text a second time, encouraging deeper comprehension as the brain makes more and more connections (visual and otherwise) with the meaning of the input.

But what do you do after the students finish drawing the scenes? If you are like me, then probably not much beyond collecting them and having great intentions to scan the best drawings to create some other resource… someday.

An idea on how to squeeze a bit more out of that storyboard occurred to me this past week in class.  My Spanish 4 Honors kiddos were dutifully drawing the scenes of the basic version “Almohadón de plumas” as part of our Supernatural Unit. (We used Kristy Placido’s awesome embedded reading resource for this. I highly recommend it! This is one of my favorite resources of Kristy’s.)

If your students are like mine, they will often only draw the most obvious part of the scene and leave out other details. This can be used to our advantage as teachers!

So here is the idea:

After students finish drawing their scenes, have them pass their completed storyboard to the right (or left) so all students have someone else’s storyboard.

Instruct students to look only at the first scene of the storyboard (assuming there are multiple). Students should then read the caption of the scene and underline anything that was NOT evident in the student’s drawing for THAT scene. This makes them re-read the caption as they check the drawing for accuracy.

IMG_7937 (1)
In this 1st scene, the student underlined “tímida” because it was not evident in the drawing.

Give them a minute or two depending on the length of the text in that scene of the storyboard and then have them trade again. Pass in the same direction as before. Each time they pass, students just focus on the next scene. Just one scene at a time. This keeps it moving and keeps it fresh. I have just 12 students in this class of Spanish 4 Honors so we all sat around two big tables and just passed papers in one direction.

In this case, the drawing obviously has a nice gorilla but did not include the fact that it was part of a hallucination nor that the gorilla was looking at Alicia!

Repeat until all the scenes have been re-read, parts underlined and then pass back the storyboards to the original owners.

At this point, I don’t have the original owner go back and add in all the details. The point isn’t to have them draw more carefully. The point was to capitalize on the fact that they are selective in what they choose to draw so they can read it again.

My students seemed to enjoy this activity and a few even said so!

Why this follow-up storyboard activity is so good:

  • It give students a chance to see other students’ work, which is always fun.
  • It makes students read (yet again) the text, looking for details that were not included in the drawing; MOST LIKELY the same details that they themselves also avoided in their drawing. In many cases, these are the parts of the text that may not have been understood or processed deeply the first or second time reading. After all, there is probably a reason they left out those details, right?
  • It actually gets them reading it two more times. Once it’s back in the original owner’s hands, he or she will then inevitably re-read again (or at the very least, skim) because they will naturally be curious about what was deemed “deficient” about their drawings! It is all done in a light-hearted way, of course. You can expect some friendly banter about what was or was not interpreted correctly in students’ drawings 🙂

Warning: If you do this all the time, your students might start including every single detail in their drawings! So as with most classroom activities, don’t overdo.



  1. I normally do not have students write on their drawings how is the teacher getting to the text portion on the drawings. Do students go home and scan and then type them it or is this done in class with ipads? Just curious?



    1. Thanks for your question! For most of the drawings I use in class, I either type in the text myself when I create the storyboard or use storyboards that have the text already there (as with the example I used in the post). The text is below the storyboard area where they draw (like a caption). I do this because I want the students to be receiving quality input as they draw and re-read. If students write or type in the text, often it contains errors which will then be read or viewed by other students– not ideal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s