Research shows that good readers have certain habits that help them understand and enjoy what they are reading. One of the most important things good readers do is THINK. Yes, they read for pleasure, but their thinking about the text makes the reading more enjoyable.
What do they think about? A common thought is, “That reminds me of…” Good readers connect what they already know to what they are reading. This is powerful stuff!
The brain doesn’t remember facts – it remembers connections. Information is only meaningful to the brain when it is connected to something else. In this way new information is contextualized, and the more thoughts an idea is associated with – the more value it has in the brain.
All that knowledge in your brain – that is called SCHEMA. Schema, or background knowledge, is everything you have experienced, seen, smelled, felt… It is the collection of thoughts and ideas inside your mind. When readers make connectionsbetween their schema and a book, their comprehension improves. Their brains are hard at work trying to make sense of the text by associating it with their memories.
In reading instruction, we talk about three different kinds of connections that readers make to the text:
- text-to-self (connecting the book to events in our own lives)
- text-to-text (connecting the book to other books, movies, articles…)
- text-to-world (connecting the book to world events)
This week the Magical Minds are focusing on making text-to-self connections. Not only are they practicing making connections, they are also learning how to talk about their thinking.
In the top picture, you can see some of the language we are using:
“When I read the words…it reminded me of…”
I modeled for this skills while reading aloud from Cynthia Rylant’s The Relatives Came. I shared my own memories of my family gatherings. Afterwards, I asked the kids to write down their own personal connections.
For homework, the children are asked to use the language we are learning to write about the connections they make to their own books.