Teaching our students to make connections while they read is such an important skill. When they stop to think how they can relate and connect to what is happening in their story, they are further understanding and deepening their comprehension. We can see them becoming stronger readers with every comprehension skill they learn and making connections is an important one.
What does it mean to make connections?
There are three different types of connections. They are:
- Text to self: The reader makes a connection to the book and their life. They might think this event happened to me, this character reminds me of myself, etc.
“This story reminds me of the time we went to the pumpkin patch.”
- Text to text: The reader makes a connection between the book they are reading and another book they have read in the past.
“This book reminds me of the book I read about a farm last weekend.”
- Text to world: The reader makes a connection between the book and something happening in the world. They might think of something that is happening in current events, history, or even something happening in their neighborhood or town.
“My mom taught me about why it’s important to recycle to take care of our Earth and the book I’m reading is about more ways to take care of our planet.”
Teaching Students To Make Connections
We can teach our students to make connections while they read with the right lessons. How?
The most important part of teaching students to make connections is to model, model, model! Students need to see you saying out loud what you are thinking about the text. They learn from seeing what you do and so therefore, you must say your thinking out loud.
“Ahh, Jenny is going to the dentist to get a cavity filled. That reminds me of the last time I went to the dentist and I had to get a cavity filled too!”
Use Mentor Texts
There’s a lot of great texts out there to use for teaching students to make connections. Here’s a few (these are affiliate links):
Text to Self:
Text to Text:
- Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
- If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
- Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten!
- Seriously, Snow White Was SO Forgetful!
Text to World:
It’s important to use anchor charts and visuals to introduce any comprehension strategy. Having a visual, like an anchor chart, in front of your students while you’re reading or they’re reading will help them remember what they are listening and looking for.
When students have a connection to the story, I like to have them make a “pinky promise” with themselves to show they made a connection. Then, I also have a visual that they have made a connection to the story and we could share with the class.
Use our lesson plans
If you aren’t sure where to start, we have you covered with lesson plans, reading passages, centers, discussion cards, and more! This resource covers making text to self, text to text, and text to world connections. It also covers reading standard RI 1.3: Describe a connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
Students have ample opportunity to write their connections throughout this unit. There are graphic organizers included to use these with any book!
You can assess your students ability to make connections before your unit and after, for both fiction and non-fiction.
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