People make connections all the time. In reading, the purpose of making connections is to deepen the understanding of the literature. Readers make connections through the use of their schema (one’s background knowledge and experiences) and the text to connect to their lives, other texts, and to the world. These connections support children in their ability to comprehend text.
I remember a book I read when I was younger, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. This book was about a girl who had a tragic event happen to her and changed the course of her life. The girl’s father died, and she had to support her family by working on farms as a migrant worker. I related to this book because my father lost his mother at a young age and he too was a migrant worker. Throughout the story, I could truly connect to the main character’s feelings and understand her problems. I felt as though I was with her as she struggled throughout her life. I gained a better understanding of what it means to be a migrant worker and how little successes could mean a lot. I was able to understand this book at a higher level because I made a meaningful connection to the text.
Making connections is a great strategy to support reading comprehension. According to Harvey and Goudvis, (2007) “When we apply our background knowledge as we read, we guide students to make connections between their experiences, their knowledge about the world, and the text they read. Connecting what readers know to new information is the core of learning and understanding.” When children relate to literature, they engage with the text on various levels. They can relate to a character, a type of genre, an emotion, an author, or theme.
There are three types of text connections:
Text- to-self: relating text to your own life experiences
Text- to-text: relating text to other literature
Text- to-world: relating text to the world or big ideas/themes
For the next several months, I will continue to blog about making meaningful connections. Throughout the series, I will explore each type of text connection and provide you with resources to help support their use. My next blog post will focus on text-to-self connections.