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Readers process text in many ways to make sense of what they are reading. There are proven strategies strong readers use to help comprehend and process text. For the first six weeks of school my fourth graders have been practicing making connections. This skill involves using the text in the story or article to connect to your own experiences, other text or media you have experienced or things in the world. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Making connections allows readers to bridge their own prior knowledge to the new knowledge in order to comprehend reading. Click To Tweet
Making connections is a skill we use often in reading and students are great at making personal connections. An important part of using this resource, however, is to make meaningful connections. Making connections is a skill that can be used to help students understand vocabulary, learn about character development and remember content. Click To Tweet
In our classroom we have hardback dictionaries. Once a week, in the beginning of the year, we work on vocabulary skills using them. Students look up words from our science content to learn about parts of speech and definitions. We discuss root words and what we know about the word parts. Throughout the year we use a combination of dictionary.com as well as the print resources to find new to us words. This is a precursor to making connections in reading that are meaningful. During our first read aloud of the year I pull out vocabulary that is most likely new to students. We look at the parts to see what we know about the word and use the context to understand. Making connections with plurals, prefixes, suffixes and word roots helps students understand and decode new words in their reading. Making connections to our prior knowledge increases the understanding of text.
I use habits of mind in my classroom to help students develop character traits. Click To TweetWe use these as reference when we make connections. I usually have students start finding examples of character actions and their personalities as they read text. Then we compare ourselves to the character. This allows students to make connections with them self and text. After this we move onto comparing character traits between characters. It may be two characters from the same book or a character from a different book they feel is similar. Our final step, to push students in their thinking, is to find direct quotes from their character that support their thinking. This step pushes students to make connections between the text and their thinking. We use quote bubbles to write three quotes found n the text which relate to the strongest character trait of that character. Students then write a paragraph referencing the quotes. Making connections with characters is a great discussion starter about students own abilities and traits.
Note taking is another skill we cover with making connections. Readworks has some great text resources for all grade levels. We often make a T Chart (two-column chart) in our journals and students write “In My Head” on the left and “In the Text” on the right. We include vocabulary, content, diagrams, etc. from the text on the right side (copied from the text) and then students make connects on the left to illustrate what they know. This can be taken further to include new information being learned as well. Linking prior knowledge to new information helps students remember and recall what they have read. Making connections with new content in your objectives and standards will strengthen students' knowledge.
Making connections is a fun reading comprehension strategy for students use at the start of the year. It is important to model your thinking by sharing aloud what you are connecting as you read. Spend time working with students by providing the text for them to use and allowing them to make their own connections from that part of the text. When students learn to use this skill independently they will pull meaningful information from text to strengthen their reading comprehension. We always want students to become independent and think about their own thinking. Making connections is a great tool to start this skill in your classroom.