Students learn how to make connections from their lives to an assigned text.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Students will connect their lives to a story or nonfiction text.
This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.
- Text-to-Self Connections: Encourage and model for students how to make connections that resonate with their lives and draw them closer to the text. Focus on events and ideas that reoccur across the text, rather than minor details such as individual words that are useful only on that one page (Miller, 2002).
- Text-to-Text Connections: You may display a cumulative chart of books and other reading materials that you have read together as a class to support these connections. Introduce and make a list of the types of text-to-text connections students can make, such as comparing characters’ personalities and actions, story events, themes or messages the author is trying to convey, and different versions of the same story.
- Text-to-World Connections: Many of the stories we read aloud to students may reflect issues and events taking place in the world beyond the classroom. World issues and events are often reflected in nonfiction magazine articles students may read and discuss, and can also be found in literature where a character is in conflict with larger societal issues, such as the prejudice depicted in the books written on the life of Ruby Bridges. Historical fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and survival stories depicting conflict with nature often provide examples for this type of connection.
- Picture-Cued Connection Stems (PDF)
- scissors, paper clips
- can, twin pocket folder or desktop pocket chart
- student notebooks or writing paper
Set Up and Prepare
- Make copies of the reproducible on card stock.
- Cut each copy into separate strips; students can take a set of strips to their seats and place each strip directly above their recording page for ease of copying. Store the sets of strips in a can, desktop pocket chart, or twin pocket folder at the center.
- Model the procedure, working with one type of connection at a time. This may mean that you add each stem to the center one or two at a time.
- Students select a sentence stem to complete (or take one that has been assigned) to help them respond to an independent-reading book.
- They copy the stem into their notebook or onto a sheet of paper and then complete it with their connection.
Remind students that they can make connections to their own lives, to books or movies, or to community or world events. Demonstrate several different ways to respond each time you introduce a connection stem.