- 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.
- Read, Relate, Respond (PDF)
- scissors and glue (cube option)
- folder or cube
- student notebooks (notebook option)
Set Up and Prepare
- For individual response sheets, make copies of the reproducible and place them in a folder at the center. If students will respond in their notebooks, make several task cards by laminating copies of the reproducible.
- For a cube format, copy the reproducible onto card stock, cut apart the six pictures, and attach them to the six sides of the cube.
- Model each type of connection before assigning in the center.
- Students choose a type of connection from the reproducible or roll the cube.
- Students use the picture cue and key word to write about a connection they’ve made to an independent reading book. They fill in the graphic organizer, recording their responses on the reproducible or in their notebooks.
- Demonstrate by sharing your responses to an event or fact in a big book or a passage on the overhead projector. Read further and invite student responses.
- Brainstorm with students a vocabulary chart of emotion words that they can use as a reference for this activity. This will extend their thinking beyond a simple “sad / mad” response. Present hypothetical situations that would cause them to respond emotionally and ask them to show you with their faces how they would feel (for example, frightened, embarrassed, surprised, excited, amazed, worried, confused, angry, or happy). You may ask a student volunteer to illustrate the chart with facial expressions.
- Discuss how each picture cue represents a specific type of response during the reading:
- I think: Did students find a part that caused them to think more about the events or information?
- I feel: Did students have an emotional response to events in the story or about the facts they just read?
- A funny part is: Which parts made them laugh or smile?
- A surprising part is: Did they find a surprising part in the reading?
- Wow! An exciting part is: Did they discover an amazing fact or find a part that grabs their attention?
- This is puzzling: Do they need clarification on something they’ve read? All readers need to use fix-up strategies as they read to problem-solve words, ideas, or facts that they find confusing. Model monitoring for understanding by reading and stopping at designated points in a read-aloud and verbalizing ‘fix-up’ strategies when comprehension is lost, such as:
- reread the sentences before and after
- use picture cues
- look for familiar parts of words (letters, vowel patterns, root words, and affixes)
- think of another word that looks like this word
- think about what makes sense
Note: Different reading materials will elicit different types of responses. Not every book is humorous and not every book causes a reader to respond both emotionally (I feel) and intellectually (I think), so a degree of open-endedness in this task is necessary.