Often one of the reasons our kids aren't willing to finish a book is because they say, "It's boring! I can't understand it. The characters are strange. It doesn't mean anything to me."
But perhaps one of the reasons our kids aren't into the book is because they aren't connecting properly. Or connecting at all.
When readers make connections to the texts they read, they're more likely to understand what they read, remember what they read, and enjoy what they read. It's a fact.
Though it sounds like helping kids make connections to their texts is complicated and involved, it's really not. Strong readers make connections every time they read, and they do it without batting an eye. Connecting is natural and habitual for strong readers. They connect to characters and events in texts; they connect to settings, themes, and messages in texts.
There are three main ways that readers make connections to texts:
- they make connections between the text and themselves or their own life;
- they make connections between the text and another text they've read;
- they make connections between the text and what they know about the world around them.
How do we bring this connection stuff home for our kids? How do we gently urge them into making connections so that they become stronger readers? Simple.
Whether they like the book or not isn't relevant. You can initiate the connection conversation any time you'd like, any day of the week.
Consider using the following phrases to help your kids make text-to-self connections with what they read:
- Oh, it looks like Arthur is really trying hard to train his pet, Pal. What kinds of things do you remember doing to help us train Brady?
- Hey! Chrysanthemum loves her name now just like you love your special name.
- Harry is so nervous for his first day at Hogwarts. I know you felt just as nervous when you started your new school.
The following ideas will help your child make text-to-text connections:
- Wow! We just read a book that took place in France like this book does. Can you remember the title?
- Oh boy. Brother and Sister Bear are not doing a good job of taking care of their things. Think back to the book that Nanny read you this weekend. Who else did you read about who was having a hard time being responsible?
- What did we read about in "Time: for Kids" last month about bats? Where do they find most of their food?
And helping your children make text-to-world connections will also help them become stronger readers:
- What do you remember about how people get around in big cities? Can you imagine how it might feel for Trixie to live in her New York City apartment?
- This dog looks so much like President Obama's dog, Bo. What ways are they alike?
- Remember how some towns require that people recycle with those big blue bins? Looks like they're doing kind of the same thing in this book.
Connections are easy once you get started, and your kids will love to share with you the connections they make on their own!
How do you help your kids connect to the books they read? Tell us about it on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.
Read all Raise a Reader posts by Amy Mascott
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