One book I love to read to children is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. When reading this book, I always think of my mother and how I did not want to go to sleep at night. My mother would always stay up with me at night until I fell asleep. This nighttime ritual was our special time together. When reading Owl Babies, I often thought about how those little owls wanted time with their mother and how lonely they would be without her. I felt that children would be able to easily connect with the baby owls. This connection to the characters in the story would allow the children to create a deeper personal connection with the book, thus building their understanding of the text.
According to Keene and Zimmermann (1997), readers can connect to a text on many different levels. These connections to literature are a great strategy for developing reading comprehension. There are three types of connections generally associated with comprehension: text to self, text to text, and text to world. My last blog was the beginning of a four part series about the value of text connections. This is the second blog in the series and it will focus on text to self connections.
A text to self connection is a connection that the reader makes to the text on a personal level. To develop text connections while reading to children, use think alouds as a way to support children in developing connections. Thinking aloud means saying your thoughts out loud so children can process what thinking could look and sound like. Using think alouds allows children to see you as the reader making your own connections to the literature.
Here are some think aloud prompts for text to self connections:
This book reminds me of …
I can relate to the character because…
This book makes me think about…
When choosing books to encourage these types of connections, think about texts in which children can relate to the content or illustrations based on things they have experienced. For example, Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells is a book about a bunny who wants to make something for his grandmother as a birthday gift. Children would be able to relate to this book because they most likely have wanted to give someone a gift at some point in their lives.
Below is a list of books that I have used to develop text to self connections:
No, David by David Shannon
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Join me next time to read about text to text connections.