The reading process requires the use of previous experience to interpret the content of the text. All the prior knowledge and memories of a person are integrated into a schema, which the reader later uses to understand the text better. The Making Connections strategy implies that the reader can “activate and use… schemata while reading is through making connections” (Teaching focus, n.d., p. 2). In particular, this technique allows creation three types of meaningful associations with text:
- Text-to-Self connection consists in applying thoughts, feelings, and personal experience to the text;
- Text-to-Text connection implies noticing differences in the current and previously read texts;
- Text-to-World connection allows considering what you read through the prism of global events, people, or problems.
Further, the chapter presents a detailed description of the procedure for applying the described strategy for better interpretation and understanding of the text. In particular, it is recommended to mark ideas that are triggered by any of the presented connections during the reading process. After that, one needs to record the marked excerpt into the connection chart, which helps in organizing the points. It is suggested to take at least five most important entries that represent each type of the described connections.
Finally, the chapter describes how this strategy can be applied in K–8 classrooms and English language learners (ELLs). Modeling each connection is of critical importance for K-8 classrooms. Text-to-Self connections can be made orally by reading the text aloud in class. The text-to-Text connection can be explored within the framework of considering several texts by the same author. Text-to-World connection is difficult for children, but a teacher can develop this skill by providing historical information or current events descriptions. Additionally, it is important to simulate each step of filling the chart for better understanding. For ELLs, the easiest way to make Text-to-Self connections is through culturally relevant texts. Additionally, to improve understanding, the teacher should read the passages aloud and choose excerpts that potentially would stimulate connections creation, as well as limit their number. When building Text-to-World connections for ELLs, it is important to listen to classmates’ connections to expand their knowledge of history and current events.
Teaching focus. (n.d.). Becoming actively engaged with required readings from text. Pearson. Web.