Explicit Strategy Instruction: Making Connections

Do you ever look for resources to help you explicitly teach your child comprehension strategies when reading?  Good readers use these strategies without even thinking about it.  It is our job as parents and educators to teach our children how to use these strategies so that they become second nature to them as they read independently.  You can use the book I’ve focused on or any of the books on Big Universe.

Making Connections

Making connections is often the easiest of the common comprehension strategies to model for children as well as for them to learn and use.  There are three types of connections a reader may make when trying to understand a text: Text-to-Self, Text-to-Text, and Text-to-World.

When a reader makes a text-to-self connection, he relates the book back to himself.  When he makes a text-to-text, he relates the book to another book he has read, and when he makes a text-to-world connection he relates the book to something in the world (current events, a movie, etc.)

During the holidays, families often travel to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. The Relatives Came is a perfect book to use to model for your child how to make connections.  In the story, the relatives pile into their station wagon and drive all day and night to visit the family.  Some connections you might make when reading aloud to your child:

  • Hmm, this reminds me of the summers/holidays I spent in our family station wagon driving to my grandmother’s house.
  • My grandmother and aunts and uncles liked to hug a lot, too.

Use your read aloud time to sneak in some comprehension strategy lessons without missing a beat.  The likelihood is that you will discuss the book anyway, so make your discussion a bit more focused and your child will begin to learn a few strategies as you model them.  As you read aloud other books to your child, note when you make connections and point them out to your child.  If your child makes his/her own connection as you read, explain to him that he made a connection and tell him what type he made.

Dawn Little (aka Links to Literacy) also blogs at www.teachingwithpicturebooks.wordpress.com where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing.  In addition, she blogs at www.literacytoolbox.wordpress.com where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children.  She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families.  Find out more at www.linkstoliteracy.com

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