Teaching students to make connections between previous knowledge, experiences, and emotions and the text they are reading, will —
- help the reader become more involved with the text
- improve attention span when reading
- enhance understanding of difficult material
- help students retain information
Before you read the post, you might wish to grab the printables. Everything is provided for 3 print-and-go lessons + links to the Google Slides.
Lesson 1 – Understanding and Remembering
Step #1 – Modeling
Begin by modeling for your students. Offer information such as:
Text to Text
This book reminds me of —- [another book] because —-.
Text to Self
I felt like —- when —-.
If this happened to me, I would —-.
Text to Media
This story reminds me of — [name specific TV show, movie, etc.] because —.
Text to World
This reminded me of what is happening in [name specific event] because —-.
Often ‘text to self’ is the easiest place to start. Once students have seen the teacher model, they will often begin making connections on their own.
Step #2 – Discussion
Next, ask questions to get students involved in the discussion. These might include:
Text to Text
- How did something you have read help you better understand this?
- How is this text similar to or different from other things you have read?
- What other book does this remind you of?
Text to Self
- How did reading this make you feel?
- Have you ever experienced something like this?
- What has happened in your life to help you better understand this?
Text to Media
- What [movie, TV show, song, or other media] did this remind you of?
- What did you learn from [television, films, songs, etc.] that helped you better understand this text?
- How did the [song] help you understand this text?
- What part of this text relates to the movie you saw?
Text to World
- What has happened in the world that is similar to this text?
- How did your knowledge of [what is happening in the world] help you better understand this text?
- What part reminds you of something in the world around us?
Step #3 – Organizers
For students to begin making their own connections without prompting, you may wish for them to have an organizer with guiding questions.
Having students draw and color notes (a left-brain activity) while studying facts (a right-brain activity) promotes learning since both sides of the brain are active. The improved communication helps students focus and retain information.
The organizers provided are based on this idea. I call this type of resource “Graffiti Notes.” If you have students cut away the borders or fold the pages in half, these will fit into an interactive notebook to use as a reference.
Color copies may be used as class displays. Black and white versions may be duplicated for students.
Select the version that works best for you. Three connections and four connections are provided. If you wish to include movies, songs, video games, TV programs, etc. in the ‘Text to World’ connection use the version with three connections.
The student copies with lines may be used for writing definitions and/or question prompts.
Lesson 2 – Applying and Analyzing
In this lesson students are going to do the following:
- read The Town Mouse and the County Mouse
- write statements that make connections related to the text
- state the type of connection that is made
- compare characters from The Town Mouse and the County Mouse to characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- read statistics about the rich and poor in America
- make connections between what is taking place in the world to the texts
Activity #1 – Making Connections with Text
Print the handout provided. Read The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. A short version of this story is provided on the handout. If you prefer, you can have students read another version of the story.
Have students complete the handout by writing statements about the text. For each statement, students must select which type of connection is being made.
Activity #2 – Making Text-to-Self Connections
In the next printable provided, students select one of the characters from The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. They then complete the Venn diagram to compare and contrast themselves to the character.
Activity #3 Making Text-to Text Connections
Two printables are provided. The first contains short excerpts from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for students to know a little about the characters Veruca Salt and Charlie Bucket.
The next handout contains a Venn diagram for students to compare The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Activity #4 – Text-to-World
A final handout is provided with a couple of links. The links go to statistical information and facts about the richest and poorest Americans. Students can use this information to make connections to The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lesson 3 – Evaluating
In this lesson, students will read the story of Aladdin and make connections to the text. Your students will love reading this great story.
Included in the printable is a three-page printable story “The Adventures of Aladdin.”
The story is in the public domain, so it may be used freely. Here is the readability information:
Average Grade Level 6.1
You should be able to read the text out loud in approximately 14 minutes.
- hand to mouth
- at their wits’ end
- down to earth
Depending on the level and experience of your students, you may wish to read the story out loud to them. Stop and ask leading questions related to making connections.
Interesting Facts about Aladdin
- The setting of the earliest Aladdin stories was China.
- In early stories, Aladdin was not an orphan. He lived with his mother.
- The popular Disney animated film of 1992 makes Aladdin an Arabian boy.
- The genie in the Disney film was voiced by Robin Williams.
- Williams would read each line as written in the script using 20 different character voices. This gave the producers a lot to choose from.
This video clip of “Aladdin 2019 – Genie Best Scenes” has enough similarities and differences to make it a good version to compare the video to the text provided.