Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reader's Workshop

The reading strategy we are focusing on right now is Connections.  While your child is reading he/she should be making connections to deepen their comprehension.  Schema theory explains how our previous experiences, knowledge, emotions, and understandings affect what and how we learn (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000). Schema is the background knowledge and experience readers bring to the text. Good readers draw on prior knowledge and experience to help them understand what they are reading and they’re able to use that knowledge to make connections. Struggling readers will move directly through a text without stopping to consider whether the text makes sense based on their own background knowledge, or whether their knowledge can be used to help them understand confusing or challenging materials. By teaching students how to connect to text they are able to better understand what they are reading (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000).
Keene and Zimmerman (1997) concluded that students comprehend better when they make different kinds of connections:
  • Text-to-self
  • Text-to-text
  • Text-to-world
Text-to-self connections are personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of reading material and the reader’s own experiences or life.
Text-to-text connections are when readers are reminded of other things that they have read, other books by the same author, stories from a similar genre, or perhaps on the same topic. Readers gain insight during reading by thinking about how the information they are reading connects to other familiar text.
Text-to-world connections are the larger connections that a reader brings to a reading situation. We all have ideas about how the world works that goes far beyond our own personal experiences. We learn about things through television, movies, magazines, and newspapers.
Cris Tovani (2000) offers reasons why connecting to text helps readers:
  • It helps readers understand how characters feel and the motivation behind their actions.
  • It helps readers have a clearer picture in their head as they read thus making the reader more engaged.
  • It keeps the reader from becoming bored while reading.
  • It sets a purpose for reading and keeps the reader focused.
  • Readers can see how other readers connected to the reading.
  • It forces readers to become actively involved.
  • It helps readers remember what they have read and ask questions about the text.

Below are some examples of connecting statements for students to use as a reference for their Reading Letters.
This part reminds me of….
I felt like…(character) when I….
If that happened to me I would….
This book reminds me of…(another text) because….
I can relate to…(part of text) because one time….
Something similar happened to me when….
Below are some examples of questions that can be used to help your child make connections:
What does this remind me of in my life?
What is this similar to in my life?
How is this different from my life?
Has something like this ever happened to me?
How does this relate to my life?
What were my feelings when I read this?
What does this remind me of in another book I’ve read?
How is this text similar to other things I’ve read?
How is this different from other books I’ve read?
Have I read about something like this before?
What does this remind me of in the real world?
How is this text similar to things that happen in the real world?
How is this different from things that happen in the real world?
How did that part relate to the world around me?

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