Connecting Texts, Students & the World Around Them

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  • 0:00 Making connections
  • 0:43 Text-to-Self
  • 1:58 Text-to-World
  • 2:57 Text-to-Text
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Good readers automatically connect what they are reading with their own life, the world around them, and other texts. In this lesson, we'll examine the three main types of connections, and how teachers can help students learn them.

Making Connections

Deena is a reading teacher, and she really wants to make texts come alive for her students. If she can get them engaged in what they are reading, she believes that will increase their enjoyment, and they will gain a greater understanding of the text. Deena is right. Many studies have shown that being engaged in reading is directly correlated with both enjoying reading and furthering comprehension. But how exactly can Deena help her students be engaged? One way to boost engagement in reading is through making connections, or recognizing how elements in the text relate to the reader, the world, and other texts. Let's look closer at the three main types of connections and how Deena can use them in her classroom.


Deena wants her students to make connections, and she's heard from another teacher that a good place to start is to teach her students how to make text-to-self connections. Text-to-self connections involve linking a text to the reader. For example, when Deena is reading a story to her class about a kid having a bad day, she might ask them to think about a time when they too had a bad day. She can ask how it felt and what they did, and then compare that to the main character in the story. As Deena's friend said, text-to-self connections are a good place to start when teaching students how to make connections. That's because most people, even kids, have a rich background with many experiences to draw from. How can Deena teach students to make connections? As she's reading to the class, she can pause periodically and ask students questions that are meant to help them make text-to-self connections. When she asks them to think about a time when they had a bad day, she is teaching them to make text-to-self connections. A good prompt for this is to start a sentence, 'Think about a time when you…' This is causing the students to connect their own experiences to the text.

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