Definition: What is the Making Connections Reading Strategy?
Making Connections is when readers connect what they are reading to some part of their life. There are four types of connections that students might make. One connection is “text to self.” This is when the reader reads something and is reminded about something in their own life. This can be with the characters, setting or events. Another connection is “text to text.” This connection happens when the text reminds them of another text that they have read. A third type of connection in “text to world.” This connection happens when the text reminds the reader of something they know about the world they live in. Finally, “text to media,” is when the text reminds the reader of something they have seen on tv, on the computer, video game or any other electronic form.
When you are teaching reading strategies, it is worth your time to put a little extra effort into these lessons. When students have strong reading strategies, they are more likely to access the rest of the curriculum during your year together.
Connect 4 is the perfect way to teach students how to make connections! As we make connections through our book, students come up to the front, state their connection and then play a piece. I then play the opposite color and we keep going until there’s a winner! A little competition is the perfect way to build engagement while teaching reading strategies! We promise… this will be a lesson they remember all year that you can reference!
Teacher Tip: I love looking ahead in the book I read to the class and I place Post-It notes at parts where I think most of my students would be able to make connections. I like to choose a book about school, since we have all experienced school events.
As we are “playing Connect 4,” students are recording connections using the activity below. If you are part of our newsletters, it’s over in our Freebie Resource Library! If you’re not a part of our newsletters, CLICK HERE or the image below to grab this for FREE!
Gestures (TPR- Total Physical Response)
Something that I have ALWAYS used in my classroom is TPR, or Total Physical Response. This is a movement or gesture that the students use to remember a concept. This helps those kinesthetic learners, not to mention, it’s just FUN! The gesture that I have my students use for making connections is they make a book with their hands and then make a gesture for the type of connections. For text to self, they make a book with their hands and then point to themselves. Text to text, students make a book and then another book. For text to world, they make a book and then draw a circle with their fingers. Text to media, students make a book and then pretend they are typing on a computer or cell phone. They say, “text to ___,” as they make each gesture.
Book Recommendations for Making Connections
The best picture books to use with making connections should have experiences that most students have had in the text. Some examples are:
▪ Amazing Grace By Mary Hoffman
▪ Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day By Judith Viorst
▪ My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother By Patricia Polacco
▪ The Relatives Came By Cynthia Rylant
Want more book recommendations for reading strategies? We have a list HERE for all of the reading strategies!
Making Connections Lessons
Students need to have multiple opportunities to access Making Connections if you want the strategy to stick and become part of their reading process. Never think of reading strategies as, “Okay, I taught it, now I’m moving on.” Instead, do mini lessons throughout the year to reinforce the strategy! We love running copies of activities and putting them in a drawer. When there is an extra ten minutes or I need something quick to do, I go to the drawer, pull out the activity and grab a book! I use these ALL YEAR LONG!
Students start by filling in the notes page. We love having students glue them into their notebooks, so they can reference them all year long. Students fill in the blanks and practice the strategy with a read aloud and a book of their own. We also provide sentence frames that students use throughout the year. Other activities we use are art activities, exit tickets and foldables. Having all of these activities ready to pass out and use with students is a life-saver! They also make for amazing centers!
Want to try these lessons in your class? We have a bundle available on Teachers Pay Teachers! CLICK HERE for the link! (We also have ALL of the Reading Strategies available in a bundle to save you money! If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE!)
Independent Practice for Making Connections
After we have taught the reading strategy using the lessons mentioned above, we like to have students work on a Reading Strategy Brochure that reviews the strategy. In the brochure, students get notes, practice and application. The brochures are the perfect follow up activity to have students master the strategy!
Intervention for Reading Strategies
Through the lessons, it becomes very clear which students are understanding the strategies. For the students that are struggling, we use Reading Strategy Groups. We have an entire blog post on this! If you haven’t read it, YOU MUST! Click HERE! Once we see around 4-6 students that need help with making connections, we pull a Making Connections Strategy Group!
Guided Reading Groups for Reading Strategies
Another way to improve Reading Strategies is to use Guided Reading Groups! Pull groups of students at the same reading level and have them complete guided reading sessions that focus on the strategies! This is yet another way to train students to be good readers! We usually hold these groups after all of the strategies have been taught.
Want to grab our Guided Reading Bundle that focuses on Reading Strategies? We have 7 passages at 3 different levels with questions that focus on reading strategies! CLICK HERE! We also have a Guided Reading Toolkit that gives you all the tools you need to successfully implement Guided Reading Groups in your classroom!
Let’s Wrap It All Up!
As you can see, we value reading strategies in our classrooms. If students have a hard time understanding their reading, they (and you) will be pulling your hair out all year! We start with an anticipatory set to build engagement, move to lessons, practice using MANY different resources, hold strategy groups and then hold guided reading groups. When students have a strong foundation, they understand the material and enjoy reading!