Many teachers' guides about teaching reading suggest that actively creating mental pictures is important or essential to comprehension. This article approaches the idea of the priority of visualization from three perspectives. It presents self-description from undergraduate readers of varied backgrounds, whose analysis of their own reading processes includes a range of approaches, from creating detailed imagery to developing a provisional schema to rejecting visualization altogether. A substantial review of current literature in neuroscience and cognitive poetics reinforces the viability of a more plural framework of interpretative strategies. Finally, the article explores how authors contribute to variation in readerly tactics through foregrounding and other narrative strategies, by means of an analysis of the opening three chapters of Philip Pullman's novel La Belle Sauvage.