With help from a fun, familiar game, students connect prior knowledge and life experiences to a text.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Students will connect prior knowledge and life experiences to the reading.
This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.
- Text-to-Self Connections: Encourage and model for students how to make connections that resonate with their lives and draw them closer to the text. Focus on events and ideas that reoccur across the text, rather than minor details such as individual words that are useful only on that one page (Miller, 2002).
- Text-to-Text Connections: You may display a cumulative chart of books and other reading materials that you have read together as a class to support these connections. Introduce and make a list of the types of text-to-text connections students can make, such as comparing characters’ personalities and actions, story events, themes or messages the author is trying to convey, and different versions of the same story.
- Text-to-World Connections: Many of the stories we read aloud to students may reflect issues and events taking place in the world beyond the classroom. World issues and events are often reflected in nonfiction magazine articles students may read and discuss, and can also be found in literature where a character is in conflict with larger societal issues, such as the prejudice depicted in the books written on the life of Ruby Bridges. Historical fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and survival stories depicting conflict with nature often provide examples for this type of connection.
- Tic-Tac-Connect (PDF)
- card stock
- student notebooks
Set Up and Prepare
- Copy the reproducible onto card stock to make the Tic-Tac-Connect board. Make one board for every student (or for every two students if students will work in pairs).
- Model the procedure in a whole-group or small-group setting before assigning the task at the center.
- Students select three picture-cued connection prompts from the grid.
- Students copy each connection prompt in their notebooks and write or draw their connection to the independent reading material.
This can be used in a game format for two students who have read the same book. Player X takes a square by making a connection in response to the prompt in that space. The next turn goes to player Y, who must make a connection in response to the prompt in the square he or she chooses. Players must take a total of three squares in a row, across, down, or diagonally.