Painting Mind Pictures

A Visualization and Reading Comprehension Program

Reading uses the combination of parts, words, to create the whole, a story.

This program, taught by our Speech Language Pathologist, actively teaches the reader to create whole images as they read. Images help with comprehension, memory and processing of higher order thinking skills such as:

  • making inferences

  • predictions

  • drawing conclusions

Painting Mind Pictures is a comprehension program designed to enhance each student’s SpellRead experience and is delivered by our Speech Language Pathologist, Natalie Sampson. 

“Visualization is directly related to language comprehension, language expression and critical thinking. Imagery is a primary sensory connection in the brain.”

halifax learning spellread speech language


What is Painting Mind Pictures?

“Visualizing” is the act of forming a mental image of an item, concept, action or idea. It has been added as a tool in mindfulness, medical and psychological health practices for goal setting and achievement, among other uses. Increasing the sensory input of any message works to improve comprehension.

halifax learning spellread speech language reading comprehension

For example, using hand gestures while giving verbal directions pairs visual and auditory messages. Visualizing adds visual information where none is available by eye.


Visual images can include tactile, auditory, olfactory and gustatory information (sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste) to build a reference. Connecting images to incoming language helps link new information to prior knowledge. Through imaging the student can create and store new information for short and long term memory. A created image can be used as a tool to recall information and apply higher order thinking skills to the material. In this way, visualizing while reading adds a tool for improved comprehension and recall.

Students who struggle to create images may struggle with specific components needed for comprehension of reading. They may ‘miss parts’, or only process part of the information, seen by rereading of the information to gain more each time. These students may have trouble accessing and integrating old information with new information. Reading challenges may occur in the presence of strong decoding and vocabulary skills, and poor imaging may account for this discrepancy.

While reading, some readers naturally create a series of mental images to visualize what they are consuming, but many readers rely more on the narrative words alone to understand and remember. Teaching readers to visualize while they read creates the second sensory input from which they can draw information to improve comprehension and memory of the material.

Pairing Painting Mind Pictures alongside the SpellRead program will provide students with an additional tool to enhance their overall literacy skills. As readers improve their phonetic approach to reading, they will also learn to visualize and see the material they are reading in a rich and meaningful way.

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Nat and her kids 2


Natalie has worked in Halifax for over 15 years as a Speech Language Pathologist, throughout which she has referred many clients to Halifax Learning for our SpellRead program. She runs a private practice that allows her to work with a wide range of families to maximize communication and is very excited to partner with us. Natalie is also a published novelist and artist. She is an experienced wrangler of teenagers, having four of her own. She spends her free time - what’s left of it - drawing, reading, playing mindless iPhone games and trying to convince the dog to pee outside instead of in. As a member of our team at Halifax Learning, Natalie Sampson’s services are incorporated into our regular programming and all students of the SpellRead program participate in Paint Mind Pictures.

Halifax Learning is proud to be locally grown, gold-standard and evidence-driven.