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!
As the year ended, I was cleaning up my bookmarks and folders on my computer. I decided to compile my favorite websites and share/store them here. These are resources I use all the time in my Resource Language Arts class.
I know many of them are worksheet based but I simply use the content to make SMART Notebook files and group activities. Rarely do I just print a worksheet and pass it out for students to complete.
Here they are in no particular order:
- Achievement Strategies On a recent professional development day on curriculum mapping, I discovered a great website. This is an amazing list of templates, tools, and resources for everything Common Core! This is how I mapped out 2 years worth of units for my Resource Room.
- ReadingResource Recommended by our speech-language pathologist for teaching struggling readers (specifically labeled as a “Dyslexia Resource.”)
- WorksheetWorks Customizable, printable, and free worksheets for math, English, geography, puzzles and other random resources.
- Free Language Stuff Very unique worksheets that I talked more about here.
- ReadTheory More details here on these comprehension selections
- English for Everyone – Related to ReadTheory but expanded to cover grammar, writing, and vocabulary as well.
- Readworks I still stand by this favorite for non-fiction reading. The fact that you can search by grade, skill, and keyword is the best!
- eReading – Printable, but also on-line interactive quizzes I found late this year and only used a few times, but definitely worth going back to.
- ReadWriteThink – My favorite activity is the flip book generator.
- Daily Teaching Tools: 180 Journal Writing Prompts 180 random and unique writing prompts at your fingertips.
Are any of these your favorites too?
What is bookmarked on your computer?
Share links to your favorites in the comments!