17, Nov 2023
Making Connections: Three Types of Connections

Three Types of Connections

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Making connections is a critical reading strategy that can be taught and practiced across all grade levels. To practice this skill, students can use 3 blank anchor charts or posters with space for each type of connection hung up in the classroom.

Text to Self

As children read, they often connect what they are reading with their own experiences, such as thoughts and memories. This is a great way to activate prior knowledge that aids in comprehension. It is also an excellent strategy for English language learners, as it allows them to use information that they already know to understand new text.

This type of connection is also referred to as a text-to-self or personal connection. Readers may think of something they have done, seen, heard or experienced that reminds them of a character in the book or situation presented in the story. For example, a student who has recently moved might relate to the characters in the story because they are experiencing some of the same feelings.

When students make connections with stories, they can also think about how those stories connect to other books that they have read, such as stories by the same author or in a series. This is sometimes called a text-to-text or TT connection.

This is an important type of connection that should be taught and practiced by all readers, especially by English language learners. To help support this skill, it is important to use text with a relatable storyline that most students can understand, such as stories about school, family or friends.

Text to Text

When students are able to connect the new information they read with their previous experiences, they are much more likely to remember and understand it. This is why teachers commonly introduce and practice making connections as a reading strategy in classrooms.

As with the other comprehension strategies, it is important to provide students with explicit instruction and practice for each type of connection. This allows students to be successful with the strategy as they move towards independent use of it while reading.

The first type of connection is Text to Self, which is when a student makes a personal connection between the story they are reading and their own life experiences. Teachers often choose books that have themes or situations that children can relate to when practicing this kind of connection. For example, the book Bridge to Terabithia might remind students of their own experiences with school, friends, and family.

A second type of connection is Text to Text, which is when a student makes ties between the current story they are reading and another piece of literature that they have read in the past. This type of connection is most often made between stories in the same genre or with similar characters. For example, the books Number the Stars and Bridge to Terabithia both share a theme of friendship between friends.

Text to World

Readers make text-to-world connections when they relate the content of a book to events that occur in the real world. This type of connection helps readers see how the story may reflect or comment on historical circumstances, societal changes, or social issues.

Readers also connect texts to media such as movies, TV shows, music, or art by analyzing how characters, themes, or messages are portrayed in these other formats. This can help readers identify commonalities between the media versions of a story and better understand the author’s purpose for writing the book.

Teaching students to make text connections is a skill that will take time to master. However, repeated exposure and practice with this comprehension strategy will lead to more authentic connections when reading independently. To scaffold this process, it’s a great idea to provide students with a tracking template where they can mark each type of connection as they read throughout the year. A simple table with four columns and five rows labeled Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World, and Text-to-Media is an easy way for students to categorize these types of connections and become more fluent in their use.

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