Reading Comprehension Strategy 1: Making Connections

Reading Comprehension Strategy 1: Making Connections

“What are you already knowing about it?” This is usually the most fundamental initial issue when it comes to reading comprehension, and though it is only natural to draw upon background and earlier knowledge as they read, more experienced readers are well aware of making connections like these. They understand that they will be better able to relate what’s new in texts to the things they have already experienced, or already know.

Children who are in the process of learning how to read effectively, and also struggling readers, often are moving straight through texts, not taking a step back to see if the words in a text make any sense in relation to their knowledge or background, or to see if they maybe can use their earlier experience or knowledge for understanding confusing or challenging material.

teachFor more information see Characteristics of Poor Comprehenders, and Implications of Instruction.

This particular strategy is emphasizing three types of connections that a proficient reader will make as he or she reads (Harvey and Goudvis).
These connections are:
Text-to-self
Text-to-text
Text-to-world

The most easy connection that children can be taught is the text-to-self connection. This type of connections is highly personal, and readers usually make this sort of connections between their own experience and a piece of text. When somebody’s saying something like ‘This text reminds me of my vacation at my granddaddy’s farm’, he or she expresses a text-to-self connection.

The next type of connections is the text-to-text one. Sometimes it happens, when we’re reading, that we’re reminded of some other passages that we read, maybe another piece by the same writer, another book by the author, a story within a connected genre, a poem that’s following an identical theme, or maybe some test written in a comparable style.

These connections draw upon specific experiences by the reader or some sort of knowledge of the printing world. In this process, more experienced readers are gaining insight and understanding while reading by thinking in what way what they read is connecting to other writing they know. When somebody is saying ‘That character faces the same issue that I was reading about last year’, he or she expresses a text-to-text connection.

The third type of connection is the so-called text-to-world connection. All of us have certain ideas on how the world is working that may be going beyond our personal experience. We all are learning about a lot of things through books, movies, or television, an  we get information about a lot of things that are happening in the world through newspapers, magazines, or online sources.

We listen to other people relating their global experience, and we are forming our own ideas from interacting with them. These type of connections are called text-to-world connections, and exactly this type of larger connections is what that teachers try to improve when they’re teaching lessons literature, science, and social studies. When somebody is saying ‘I watched a television program that dealt with issues that are described in this piece of text’, he or she expresses a text-to-world connection.

All activities that are teaching students strategies to make connections with their knowledge and/or experiences (self, text, or world) will help them become better readers. One of the key phrases that prompt this type of strategy is: ‘That reminds me of . . .’