When readers are really thinking about what they’re reading, they sometimes make connections to what’s going on in the world right now or how it may connect to past events.
These text to world connections can cause students to activate their background knowledge and can help keep them engaged with the text.
The more students are active, metacognitive readers, the more opportunities they have to truly understanding the texts they’re reading.
These type of texts are some of my favorites to read and share with students.
They can lead to some great class discussions or even to classroom service projects, which is what one of my classes decided after reading a particularly moving book (Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier – one of the books listed here!)
The books below lend themselves to text to world connections. There are so many great books that fall into this category, it was hard to narrow the list down to a few!
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1. One Plastic Bag
One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul is a true and powerful story of one African woman who to began a movement to recycle plastic bags that were polluting the area near her home.
2. Emmanuel’s Dream
Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson is an inspiring true story about a young boy named Emmanuel from Ghana, West Africa. With a deformed leg, many people did not believe in Emmanuel. However, he had a dream to become a cyclist and was determined to achieve not only this but so much more.
3. The Great Kapok Tree
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is a vibrant picture book detailing the importance of rainforest conservation.
4. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with Chimps
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with Chimps by Jeanette Winter is about Jane Goodall’s life observing chimpanzees, from her childhood years in London to her adulthood in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania.
5. Malala’s Magic Pencil
Malala Yousafzai writes in her picture book, Malala’s Magic Pencil, of how she wished for a magic pencil as a child growing up in Pakistan. Malala describes all of the good things she would do with her pencil in this heartwarming story.
6. Fly Away Home
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting follows a homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father. One day, the young boy sees a trapped bird fly free and finds hope in its liberation.
7. Beatrice’s Goat
Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier is a children’s book about the true story of a young Ugandan girl whose life is forever changed by the gift of a goat from Heifer International.
8. Ada’s Violin
Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood is a true story about a children’s orchestra in Paraguay. Their orchestra is different, however, because their instruments are made from recycled trash, the author, through her beautifully written words, spreading a message of hope and innovation to those who read.
9. Rice from Heaven
Rice From Heaven by Tina Cho is based on a true story about one young girl’s bravery in helping feed starving people in North Korea by sending rice balloons over the border.
Here are a few more self to world connection mentor texts:
Brave Girl by Michelle Markel
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
If you’re looking for reading resources to help teach about text to world 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 World Connections” is one of the 10 key reading comprehension strategy mini-lessons. There are also anchor charts and graphic organizers about text to world connections too!
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Launching Reading Workshop unit.
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