“If I can’t picture it I can’t understand it”

Albert Einstein

I’m having fun re-discovering this program with some of my clients who have auditory processing difficulties that affect their auditory memory and language/reading comprehension. We use two levels of ‘structure words’ to help identify key information to help us visualise. If we can make pictures in our heads as we read or listen to words, it helps us process and retain that information.

We start by using WHAT, SIZE, COLOUR, SHAPE, NUMBER AND WHERE descriptors…

and move on to MOVEMENT, MOOD, SOUNDS, WHEN, BACKGROUND AND PERSPECTIVE words. I’m so impressed with how much it helps my guys to remember and is also expanding their oral language

Here is a scenario I have taken from the Lindamood-Bell site http://lindamoodbell.com/our-approach 


Michelle reads words accurately, but she doesn’t understand what she reads. Words seem to “go in one ear and out the other” and she struggles with following directions. Her parents express frustration about her weak short term and long term memory. Her teachers think she is not trying, and she has been labelled as having ADHD.


A primary cause of language comprehension problems is difficulty creating an imagined gestalt. This is called weak concept imagery. This weakness causes individuals to get only “parts” of information they read or hear, but not the whole.


Individuals of all ages may experience the symptoms of a weakness in concept imagery.

This causes weakness in:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Listening comprehension
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Following directions
  • Memory
  • Oral language expression
  • Written language expression
  • Grasping humor
  • Interpreting social situations
  • Understanding cause and effect


The Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) program develops concept imagery—the ability to create an imagined or imaged gestalt from language—as a basis for comprehension and higher order thinking. The development of concept imagery improves reading and listening comprehension, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing.

“Clinical research and experience over the last twenty-five years indicate there is a separate comprehension weakness that is rarely identified. This weakness often undermines the reading process…It is weakness, based in the sensory system, in creating an imaged gestalt” – Nanci Bell