Making Connections Activities for Kids

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Help your elementary students make connections to their reading using these independent, partner, and team activities. Providing hands-on practice with the text-text, text-self, and text-world framework can help solidify student learning.

Making Connections Activities for Kids

Elementary students may struggle to make connections to the text. Breaking it down into the text-text, text-self, and text-world framework is helpful by providing categories for different types of connections.

These hands-on activities will help you engage students in practicing their interaction with the text and improve their familiarity with the concept of making connections. In these activities, students will work independently, as partners, or in teams to:

  • identify common themes between texts
  • connect the text to the real world, and
  • identify similarities between a text and their own lives.

It's best if you have multiple texts when conducting these activities and select them carefully so students can be successful in making each type of connection.

Theme Banners

  • Materials: at least two texts with similar themes, yarn or string, notecards, hole punch.

In this partner activity, students will connect common thematic elements in multiple texts.

Before the activity, find two or more short texts with similar themes. Prepare the notecards by punching a hole in each side of the cards horizontally. Briefly explain the concept of text-text connections. To begin the activity, provide each team with a spool of yarn or string and five to ten notecards. As a class, read the texts and identify a few themes.

Students can then work as partners to find textual evidence that supports one of the themes you've listed. They should first write the selected theme on a notecard. Then, they can record quotes or paraphrases from the text that show the theme they have selected. Each card should have only one piece of textual evidence. Next, students should string the theme card with the textual evidence cards, tying a knot in each end of the yarn. To wrap up the activity, have students compare their banners with the other teams' creations to note connections between different themes. You may also want to post the individual banners around the classroom as a visual reminder of text-text connections.

What in the World?

  • Materials: at least two texts with real-world connections, poster paper, markers.

In this team activity, students will make connections between text(s) and the real world by creating colorful posters.

Prepare in advance by selecting one or more texts that have clear connections to the present day. Briefly explain the concept of text-world connections. Begin the activity by providing the text(s), poster paper, and markers to students. Have each team draw and color in a large globe in the center of their poster. To save time, the sketches should be an artistic style, not detailed and accurate.

Next, have students read the text(s) and underline different connections they find to the world. Encourage them to delve deeply into the text and identify as many connections as they can to present day, current events or popular culture. Then, students should use markers to draw pictures of the connections they found. Teams may need assistance in identifying the connections and in determining how to illustrate each one. After the activity, they should be more adept at identifying these connections independently.

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