One important reading comprehension strategy is to help students activate their background knowledge in order to boost reading comprehension.
Teaching students about their schema (memories, experiences, everything they know…) is the first step.
Helping students make text to self connections is one way to move them from passive readers to active readers, which is what we want!
The more we can encourage students to “think” as they read, and to focus on connections that matter, the more deeply they will be able to understand the text.
Here are a few of my favorite mentor texts for text to self connections. These stories may help your students activate their schemas in some way.
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My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco follows a young girl, Patricia, whose older brother can do just about anything she can but better. That is, until Patricia wishes on a star and finds out just what wishes (and rotten redheaded older brothers) can really do.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a charming story in which a girl and her dog set out to make the most magnificent thing. Feeling defeated after much hard work, the girl goes for a walk and soon realizes what she must do to succeed!
The Potato Chip Champ by Maria Dismondy is a heartwarming story of two kids who, despite their many differences, bond over their shared love of baseball and potato chips. And in the end, the boys learn a lesson about character that can only be learned with the help of one of their favorite things: crunchy potato chips.
Because by Mo Willems is the striking tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage. This beautiful picture book shows just how impactful one piece of music can be to another’s life.
I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada details how special the weekend is to the child in this story, as she spends each day with a different set of grandparents. Readers will find that while her European-American grandparents and Mexican-American grandparents have different traditions, they are really not very different at all.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is a popular story about all the little things that go wrong one day for little Alexander. Let’s face it. We have all had days where it seems like everything goes wrong!
Fred Stays With Me by Nancy Coffelt is about a young girl who finds herself in the middle of her parent’s divorce. Through this, she turns to her beloved dog, Fred, as the constant in her changing life.
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina is a stunning book about the importance of friendship and the lasting impact it can have.
Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe is a sweet story of a young boy who excitedly catches a jar full of fireflies. However, as their light begins to fade, he realizes he must set them free.
Here are a few more Mentor Texts for Text to Self Connections:
If you’re looking for reading resources to help teach about text to self connections, this one might help! The Launching Reading Workshop unit includes an entire month’s worth of mini-lessons as well as an entire year’s worth of framework or supporting materials for Reading Workshop. The first two weeks are about routines and expectations and the second two weeks are all about reading comprehension strategies. “Text to Self Connections” is one of the 10 key reading comprehension strategy mini-lessons. There are also anchor charts and graphic organizers about text to self connections too!
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