• comprehension;
  • imagery;
  • digital;
  • visual;
  • motivation;
  • interest
  • early childhood;
  • childhood
  • article

Although mental imagery's positive role in reading comprehension is clear, the means of introducing imagery to young readers is comparatively vague. Mental imagery's very nature, being nonverbal, invisible, and often unconscious, results in a mismatch with standard instructional practices. Verbal explanations of nonverbal phenomenon fall short. External images, such as story illustrations, can discourage the creation of internal images. However, through a less-standard practice of storytelling, the author discovered a natural gateway into imagery. In contrast to read-alouds from a picture book, storytelling prompted her students' curiosity about a character's appearance. The resulting conversation led to interest and inquiry about mental imagery in general. The author documents her second-grade class's journey into the using mental imagery during reading comprehension and provides theoretical justification for this instructional approach.