To improve reading comprehension, I will often ask students to make connections to their own lives.
This simple handout works for any text. (See the links at the end of this post.) I have edited this handout several times to get the responses I want.
Four things I’ve learned about this activity that are worth sharing:
1. Avoid any sort of question that allows students to find a loophole.
Does this text remind you of anything in your own life?”
Is this text similar to anything you’ve read before?
What does this text remind you of from tv, the news, or Channel One?
My students were quick to figure out they could write “No,” “Nope,” “Yes”, or “Nothing really” as an answer.
2. Require students to give a specific example from the text.
Otherwise, you’ll get answers like these:
“She did the same thing I did.”
“When I had a dog.”
“Yesterday on Channel One they said the same thing.”
3. Two out of three isn’t bad.
For some of my IEP students, I allow them to choose two of the three connections. This allows them to have a choice and is a slight modification that still requires them to think about what they have read.
4. It’s important for students to share their responses.
Sharing can be a whole group discussion, a pairing of students, or a rotation. Allowing students to share does two things. First, it sends the message that their connection is important. Secondly, it gives others an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective or spark their own connection if they had trouble.
PDFs for you to download:
Making Text Connections – This is the basic template following the ACE model.
Making Text Connections with LINES – This is a modified version for students who need the lines to write on. The prompt is slightly different. This is the version my Alternate Assessment students received.
How do you get students to make a personal connection to a text?
What do you do if your students aren’t big readers and don’t have a lot of texts to connect to?
How do you explain text-to-world? (This is so difficult for my class!)
Share your thoughts in the comments!