Beginning readers often get so involved in decoding the letters and words that they forget to stop and think about their reading.
I tell them that reading is like a sandwich.
On one slice of bread is the words - being able to read them and know how to say them properly.
On the other slice is the comprehension or understanding what the words mean and how they come together to form ideas within a story.
You have to have both sides of the sandwich for it to be complete, for it to make sense and be a proper sandwich.
- They connect the text to something personal about themselves (text to self)
- They connect to something out in the world (text to world)
- They connect to another book (text to text)
- This book makes me think about when I was little and my nanny, Wilson, would read to me. I still have my first hard copy of this book given to me in 1974. (text to self)
- This in turn makes me wonder about other children, in other countries reading this story. I wonder if they have this book in places like Africa. And, if they do, is it a prized possession?(text to world)
- The cow jumping over the moon reminds me of l the nursery rhyme it came from (text to text)
- The title makes me think of the book Goodnight Ipad which came out recently and which I read to my class, not in book format, but on the smartboard. So 21st Century!!!! (text to text)
- A bowl full of mush makes me think of all the cream of wheat I ate as a child.(text to self)
- The ending where it says goodnight to the air and the stars etc. gives me a lovely, comfy feeling. It reminds me of the feeling of childhood. (text to self)
- The little old lady rocking in the room makes me think of the rocking chair that my Grandmama had on her back porch (text to self)
Parents, you can help your child to make better connections by sitting down once or twice a week and reading to them. Pick a book that your child wants to read (it does not matter if they can read it or not) and then read out loud to your child. Stop every once in awhile to share a connection you make with the story, stop every once in awhile to ask your child if they have any connections.
I don't care if your child is already reading chapter books. Create a time when they listen to you read and ask them to tell you their connections. Don't just leave them reading on their own all the time and assume that they are understanding everything that they read. Chances are very high that they are not!!!!!