In educational systems throughout the world reading comprehension is emphasized in all levels of education and is a skill that is useful even after completing one’s schooling. Reading skills are not merely the ability to sound out words and read them with proper pronunciation and intonation. The goal of reading is to be able to comprehend the meaning of the text.
Why is reading comprehension important?
Whether a text is conveying historical facts, telling a funny story, giving a detailed description of how to perform a certain task or presenting reasons why a person should or should not do something, the important thing is to be able to understand what the text is actually saying. Making connections is a reading comprehension strategy used by educators to help students improve their reading comprehension.
Making connections with the text
One way to improve reading comprehension is to make connections with the text. There are three types of connections that can be made while reading. There are personal connections, connections with other books and connections with things in the outside world.
How does making connections improve reading comprehension?
When someone can make a conscious association with something that they have personally experienced, read about or heard about, it becomes easier for them to relate to the text and understand what is happening. They are also more likely to be interested in the text once they’ve made a connection to something that they already know or are familiar with.
How can connections be made while reading?
A simple way to help children get started making connections is to give them an opportunity to share their connection either out loud or by writing it down. A teacher or reading tutor might provide students with sticky notes that they can write on and place on the pages in their book.
Here is an example of how a reading tutor might incorporate this into a lesson plan. They could introduce the concept of making connections by reading a book aloud to the student and pausing after each section to state a personal connection they have with the text. Then the reading tutor can have the student practice this. When the student reads a page of the book, they should be asked to write something like “this reminds me of when I went on a road trip with my family and I saw…”
Another reading strategy is to make a connection with other texts that were read previously. Students should be prompted to write something like this on their sticky note: “this reminds me of what I read in another book where…”
Connections can also be made with things that the student has learned about just by living in the world today. When reading a book about outer space a student might write “this reminds me of something I saw on the news about…”
Further application of this reading strategy
When students are first learning how to read it is important that someone like a teacher, parent or reading tutor demonstrates how to make connections to the text while reading. By modeling this reading strategy and teaching the students how to use this strategy on their own, students will be able to continue to improve their reading comprehension throughout their school years and for the rest of their lives.
This reading strategy is explained in more detail in the book “Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades” by Debbie Miller.