With the new Common Core standards, the comprehension strategy "Making Connections" has caused some stir in the reading world, however, I believe it's just as important now as it was before Common Core came on the scene. It hard to dispute decades of research. You'll remember from my "Fifty Shades of the Common Core" slideshow, that it I quoted Lucy Calkins when I said that the Common Core "de-emphasizes" making "text to self connections"...I did not say that the Common Core says you *can't* teach text-to-self connections anymore. There are however, plenty of opportunities in the new standards for students to make connections across one text and between two texts to make "text to text connections". And again, although making "text to world connections" is nowhere in the new standards either, it does ask students to think about how the content they read is relevant to their life, now and in the future. And in Kindergarten alone, students must make connections in standards K.RL.9, K.RIT.3 and K.RIT.9. Connecting is an essential foundational comprehension strategy that students must use in order to comprehend at higher levels, to evaluate, analyze and interpret character actions and be proficient in RL anchor standard 3 "analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of the text" and anchor standard 6 "assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text." Being able making text to text connections helps students compare and contrast characters within a book and across texts in order to do anchor standard 9 "analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take." Making "real" connections are important, and recognizing when we don't have connections is important, too. Being able to say "Nothing in this book is like my life" tell us that students are aware that they have no connections and honors the DIFFERENCES between us and the characters in texts. You can read more about Disconnections from the book, The Reading Turn-Around by Jones, Clarke and Enriquez. Also,visit the blog by Burkins & Yaris, 21st Century Literacy, to read their critical (and I mean that in an analyze-y way) interpretations of the Common Core standards for ELA. They blog daily about different aspects of the standards and the shifts and have been blogging lately about Connections. Be a "close reader" and "judge" (EVALUATE) for yourself.
Happy Reading! -Jen