Broaden the Meaning of Text-to-World Connections
When readers connect something new to something known, they are more apt to understand and remember it. Consequently, teachers commonly have students reflect on their own prior knowledge as it relates to any text.
These connections come in three forms.
Text-to-self connections occur when something in the text reminds the reader of a personal experience.
Text-to-text connections occur when something in the text reminds the reader of a previously read text.
Although the first two are more concrete for teachers and students to grasp, the third type tends to be misunderstood.
Text-to-world connections are often narrowly defined as relating something in the text to a current event. With this limited definition, teachers often dismiss it as a viable reading comprehension strategy, explaining that most of their students are unaware of state, regional, national, or international events.
But instead of focusing on current events as “worldly” knowledge, consider looking at information gained from everyday life.
For example, all your students know that infants create a lot of dirty diapers. However, most don’t know this fact because they read a book about it (i.e., text-to-text connection) or because they have a lot of personal experience with babies (text-to-self connection). Rather, it’s just general knowledge they picked up along the way–often from conversations, observations, and/or television.
When encouraging students to make connections while reading, don’t be too quick to dismiss the text-to-world option. In fact, some students may rely on these more than the other two types. This is often the case with students who have limited life experiences and/or who aren’t strong readers.