Well, it is that time of year again. My kids are off to school, and I am excited to begin writing a brand new book. I will be creating the book through this blog, and you will have free access to all of it’s content here. This book/blog series is called 7 Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.
Highly effective readers make 3 kinds of connections when they are reading. These connections are called text to self, text to text, and text to world. Any book a child is reading is considered text. Let's take a deeper look at what these connections are.
Text to self connections
Text to self connections occurs when a reader is reading something and all of a sudden the student thinks, "Oh, that has happened to me before." The reader is connecting on a personal level with what she is reading. For children where this does not happen as naturally, they need an adult that can ask these kinds of questions.
1. Has that ever happened to you before? Tell me about it.
2. Which character do you feel most like? Why?
3. How did you feel when that happened to you? How do you feel about it now.
Being able to use text to self connections allows a reader to make better predictions about what is going to happen next in the story. They can think back to their own situation and see if what happens next is similar to what happened to them.
Text to text connections
These connections are all about making connections with other books that the child has read. The other day I was reading a book in RAZ-Kids, and it had the same pattern as Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle. Since the child was unfamiliar with Brown Bear, Brown Bear I was able to introduce that book to him as well. Sometimes books are familiar for the following reasons:
1. Same pattern
2. Same author, series, or writing style
3. Similar plot
4. Similar book layout
5. Same genre
By making connections with other books readers are able to learn more about how different genres are written, specific author techniques, and so much more. It gets the reader thinking beyond just the words that he/she is reading. This is helpful for developing the difficult skill of inferencing, or what my teachers used to call it, reading between the lines. Making these kinds of connections are not just right there kinds of connections. They take a separate approach to being developed. Here are some suggestions to get kids to begin making connections between books.
1. Read two similar books
2. As you are reading the second book guide the reader in making connections between the two books.
3. Compare the two books using a Venn Diagram. Where the two circles overlap you can write how the books are similar. In the outer area of the circle you can put how they are different.
Text to World Connections
These connections are comparing things that are happening in our world currently. Kids can often be cut off from the realities of the world, and this is the toughest type of connection to make. A great book to use to teach about homelessness and what that can be like is Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting. This book talks about a little boy who lives at an airport because his father and himself are homeless. These kinds of books are helpful with developing compassion in children for them to be aware of other situations that out there.
Schools really focus on presidential elections every four years. This is a good time to read books about elections, past presidents, and compare and contrast it to what is on going on today. Again this can also be done a Venn Diagram format.
When kids are connecting with what they are reading, they are thinking. Reading is all about thinking and engaging with the text. It is not just accepting at face value what an author says to be the end of the experience. By making connections we are helping kids to be thoughtful, careful, readers.
Do you notice yourself making connections when you are reading? How does it effect your reading?