Sylvia Franklin REED 663 The project completed was teaching the strategy making connections. I used this strategy with my first grade class and allowed them to make connections to their own lives and across texts. During the read aloud block, my class worked on text to self connections across four days and we worked on text to text connections over three days. The purpose of this project was to allow students to see the connections they can make with texts to themselves and how texts can have similar themes and ideas. This allowed for students to be actively engaged to better comprehend texts. Making connections is the capability to think about and engage in an interaction with the text in relation to ourselves, other text and the world. There are three different types of connections that readers can make when reading text: text to self, text to text and text to world. By making connections, students are able to be actively engaged in text to further increase their ability to comprehend. I first discussed with the students that good readers make connections with texts to get a better understanding of what they are reading. I explicitly told my students that there are three types of connections readers can make to better understand the text and we would be working on two of those connections: text to self and text to text. The first set of connections taught were text to self connections. While reading the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, I thought aloud about connections I could make with the text to model this process for the students. This allowed students to see how connections can be made from the text to their own lives. I began with the connection: “I know that Chrysanthemum is very excited to go to school; when I was starting school for the first time I was also very excited.” On the second day of working on making connections, we reviewed what text to self connections were. Students then had the opportunity to state connections they made with the text. We reread the text Chrysanthemum so they could practice making connections with my guidance. Here are some of the connections my students were able to make to the text: “My mom makes me my favorite food when I am upset.” ~ Paris “I was excited for the first day of school and I got to wear my new clothes.” ~ Ja’Nasia “Someone laughed at me before. I didn’t like that.” ~Khamren Students worked on orally making connections independently to texts after they were read aloud. We used the text: Students also worked on writing self to text connections they could make to a text after it was read aloud. We used the text: Koala Lou by Mem Fox Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark Students were also encouraged to make connections to texts we read during shared reading and while independently reading. This chart was created during independent practice. These are a few of the connections students were able to independently make to personally connect themselves with the text Koala Lou by Mem Fox I got bit by a pitbull and I went to the hospital. One group hard at work on making connections. I went to the hospital because I had an ear infection because I wore a fake earring and I had crust on my ears. I am like Franklin because I had to go to the hospital. I had to get a shot. I am brave like Franklin because I got my x-ray. I went to the hospital because I fell off the monkey bars and had to get stitches. I went to the hospital to get my tonsils out. Chart created using students independent work samples on text to self connections. I explicitly discussed text to text connections with my class, explaining to them that texts can be similar and have similar themes. Being good readers, we look for relations across similar texts to understand them even more. Making text to text connections was taught using modeling and think alouds. I demonstrated how to make connections across texts using Kevin Henkes’s Chrysanthemum and Wemberly Worried. Since the class was familiar with the text Chrysanthemum, Wemberly Worried was used because of the familiar theme and author. While reading the book Wemberly Worried, I thought aloud about connections across both books. “I know that Chrysanthemum was excited about going to school until she went for the first day, then she did not want to go anymore because of the children laughing at her name. Wemberly is like Chrysanthemum because she is worried about school and what others will think of her and what her first day will be like. In both books, the characters are nervous about going to school.” On day two of making text to text connections, we reviewed how texts can be related. Students were then asked to make connections between the two texts Chrysanthemum and Wemberly Worried with my guidance. Only half of Wemberly Worried was read the previous day so the rest of the book was read on day two. Students showed an understanding of making text to text connections based on the connections they orally stated throughout the read aloud. These connections were written on a chart for students to use for help during independent practice if needed. On the third day of making text to text connections, students were asked to relate the books Curious George Goes Camping by Margaret & H.A. Rey with Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer. We previously read the text Just Me and My Dad so this text was reviewed before Curious George Goes Camping was read. After reading Curious George Goes Camping, students were given paper to draw and write about the connections they could make across the two texts. I gave the sentence starter Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad …. Students were able to use the starter to help them connect the texts. Evidence of text to text connections students were able to make are shown in their work samples. Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad because they love camping. Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad because they both drove in a car to get camping. Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad because they both went fishing and went camping. Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad because they had the same thing to eat. Curious George Goes Camping was like Just Me and My Dad because George broke the tent like the little boy broke the tent. I shared my lessons, books used and ideas with the second grade teacher Mrs. Hubick. She used my ideas for teaching the strategy to complete a lesson on making text to self connections with her second grade class. “I used a book I felt my students would be able to relate to and that they would be interested in. I feel that by thinking aloud and modeling how to make connections, my students were able to think deeper about their connections to relate the characters in a Junie B. Jones book to their own lives.” Mrs. Hubick Mrs. Hubick also stated that she would like to use the ideas for text to text connections for her next author study. “I think that making connections is a great way to show comprehension. Students in all grades would be able to make connections to books on their level if they are interested and engaged in the book.” “ Text to text connections would be a great way to show comprehension of specific ideas. I think as students get older this would be a great strategy to use with nonfiction texts.” Making connections text to self. My friend had got grounded for one day because her friend pushed her when she was going home. This connection shows evidence of understanding of the strategy because the book that was read told about a girl getting in trouble. Dashae was able to relate that to her own life and an incident her friend had. Making connections text to self. I had got in trouble before. I threw lunch before. People lied on me before. I tattled before. This connections shows evidence of understanding the strategy because Nicole was able to relate multiple occurrences in her life to the girl getting in trouble in the book. All grade levels should work with their students on making connections. Connections should get more in depth as students get older and more complex texts should be used. I only worked with my students on text to self and text to text connections however text to world connections should be used in all grade levels also. Primary Grades- Primary grade teachers can use this strategy to help their students make connections to texts. Students can draw, write or both to show self to text or text to text connections. Intermediate Grades- As students get older, they can code texts as they read it to show what kind of connection they are making. TS- Text to self or TT- Text to Text Students in these grades may also want to still draw and write about their connections. Middle and High School- Students at these grades should still make connections to and across texts. They can code the text they read with the connections made. They may also write papers to discuss how they can relate to a text or how two or more texts are similar. Both my students and I learned from this project. I learned new ways to teach the strategy to use in future years and my students learned how to use the strategy to better comprehend texts. My students enjoyed working on making connections. They were excited to be able to tell how the characters and events in the books were like things that have happened in their own lives. They also enjoyed seeing connections across texts when they could pick out how texts can be similar. Evidence that the students were able to make both types of connections correctly was proven with their oral responses as well as their written responses. Making connections is a strategy that my students will now be able to use effectively to better comprehend texts they read or listen to.