Making text connections while reading is a comprehension skill that takes time and practice to master. Modeling the text connections process using picture books is an effective method for reinforcing or introducing the new skill. If students make connections while they are reading, they have a better chance of understanding and remembering the information presented in the text. There are three types of connections that students can make while reading independently: text to self, text to text, and text to world. Each type of text connection has a specific purpose and benefit. Text to self connections help students relate to the text on a personal level, deepening their understanding and creating a more meaningful and memorable reading experience. Text to text connections strengthen prior knowledge and allow students to identify commonalities across authors and genres. Text to world connections increase comprehension by relating previously learned concepts to new information.
Before diving into an independent text connections activity, it is important to model the cognitive process required for making authentic connections with the text. Reading picture books in a group setting is an engaging way to approach this type of guided instruction. The picture books listed below are diverse enough for most students to make all three types of connections. The short descriptions should give you an idea of the books that will resonate with your students. In order to get your students thinking and assist them in the text connections process, oral questions are provided for each book.