Your child will make a paper chain of the connections they make to a book.
Learning Area(s): Reading and Writing
- strips of paper
- stapler or tape
Before the activity, choose a book based on your child’s interests (see Tips for some ideas).
Cut the paper into one- to two-inch-wide strips. Write the book title and author’s name on one strip and tape the ends together so that it makes a circle. You and your child will add connections to this loop. You can help your child make many different kinds of connections as they read.
- Text-to-self connections are between the book and your child’s experiences/life. For example, “I saw some of the same animals in the book when I went to the aquarium.”
- Text-to-text connections are between two things your child has read. Understanding the similarities from a previous book can help a child understand the current story. Some types of text-to-text connections (from simplest to most sophisticated) include:
- comparing characters, their personalities, and actions (for example, “The main character in this book is a fish. The main character in the book The Pout-Pout Fish is a fish too.”)
- comparing story elements and plot lines (for example, “The children in both stories were teased, then they believed in themselves, and people changed their minds about them.”)
- comparing lessons, themes, and messages
- finding common themes or writing styles in the work of a single author
- comparing different versions of familiar stories
- Text-to-world connections are between the book and the world (we learn about the world through shows, movies, news, history, our community, etc.). For example, “The stingrays in this story move from one place to another just like the teacher talked about in the movie Finding Dory.”
Using prior experiences and knowledge helps readers better understand what they are reading. These connections help readers understand characters’ feelings and motivations, create a clearer picture in their minds, and stay engaged in what they are reading. Explain to your child, “Sometimes a book makes you think of something else you’ve done, read, or learned about. When that happens, you are making a connection to the book. When we read this book today, you’ll write down each connection you make on a piece of paper and add it to this paper chain.” Show your child the link you made with the title and author’s name on a strip of paper.
Start reading the book together. If your child is able, invite them to read aloud to you. Within the first few pages, pause reading to show your child how to make a connection. Write it on a strip of paper and add it to the first chain link.
Continue reading and pause every few pages to prompt your child to share their connections. You might ask some of the following questions to draw out a variety of connections:
- Text-to-self and text-to-world questions
- What does this remind you of?
- Has something like that ever happened to you?
- How did you feel when you read that? Why?
- What do you know about ___? How did you learn about that?
- Do you think other people could learn a lesson about this?
- Text-to-text questions
- What does this remind you of from another book?
- Have you read about something like this before?
Encourage your child to write each connection on a strip of paper and add them to the chain. (Optional: Talk about what kind of connection your child is making.) When you finish the book, hang the chain up and praise your child for doing what good readers do: making connections!
- Look up a book summary and choose one of the following books/series or another that your child is interested in. Visit your local library or ask your child’s teacher for a copy.
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
- I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien
- Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
- Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
- The Bad Seed by Jory John
- How People Learned to Fly by Fran Hodgkins
- School Then and Now by Robin Nelson
- Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken
- Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons
- Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola
- What If…? by Anthony Browne
- Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
- Magic Tree House Books 1-4 by Mary Pope Osborne
- Jackson Friends series by Michelle Edwards
- Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant
- Simply Sarah series by Phyllis Reynolds
- Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson
- Your child can add to the chain each time you read a book together. With each new book, include a link with the title and the author’s name.
- You might like to talk about one kind of connection (text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world) at a time and make a chain of each kind. You can reread the same book or read a new one each time.
- If your child can’t write the connection on their own, share the pen with them as you help write what they say.