Making Text-to-Text Connections

Lesson Author: Education Oasis Staff

Overview: After students learn about metacognition and the importance of activating prior knowledge, they will learn various strategies which will enable them to activate prior knowledge. Text-to-Text is one such strategy. The teacher will model the strategy first then have students practice the strategy. Students will continue to practice the strategy as necessary. (This strategy will be taught after the text-to-self strategy is taught and learned. See "Text-to-Self" Lesson Plan.)

Rationale: Research clearly shows that prior knowledge (including experiences and emotions), or schema, is a major factor in students being able to comprehend what they read. Research also shows that students who are explicitly taught and use strategies that activate prior knowledge comprehend better than students who don’t.

Learning Objectives:

The learner will:

  • understand what a text-to-text connection is;

  • see the teacher modeling text-to-text connections;

  • practice making text-to-text connections.
  • _______________ book/article/poem/tale to be chosen by the teacher. Additionally, the newspaper usually provides material for making text-to-text connections;

  • a rich assortment of books/articles/poems/tales from which students may choose. (Alternative: A single text that the whole group will read);

  • Text-to-Text Graphic Organizer handouts;

  • optional Post-It™ notes, chart paper, overhead and transparency, or board.
  • Introduce lesson.
  • Ask: Remember when we talked about activating prior knowledge?
  • Ask: Who can tell me why it’s important to activate prior knowledge when reading?
    Acknowledge responses and then review importance of prior knowledge.
  • What are some of the strategies that we’ve learned that activate prior knowledge?
  • Acknowledge responses and then review text-to-self strategy.
  • Today we are going to learn about another strategy to activate prior knowledge. It is called making text-to-text connections. (Write this on the board, or have a pre-made poster up.)
  • I am going to read a ____ to you and model for you how I make connections while I read.
  • I want you simply to listen and notice the connections I’m making, then, you will have an opportunity to do the same.
  • Read ____ while making connections to other text your have read. (The teacher may want to use either Post-It™ notes, chart paper, transparency with a copy of the graphic organizer, or the board to model writing down the connections made.)
  • Ask: As I was reading did you make any connections to text you have read? Allow time for discussion.
  • Have students choose a text to read. Or, alternatively, hand students a text to read.
  • Hand out text-to-text graphic organizers (or Post-It™ notes) and have students fill them out as they read.
  • Allow time for sharing.


  • Students spend a week making connections daily in the newspaper, keeping “journal entries” of their connections.
  • Students are given a homework assignment to read a text of their choosing, making connections, and write them down in a log or on a reading response form.
  • Students are given a graphic organizer and assigned the task of making connections while reading text in another subject/class. (Students should be given a few days to complete this. If the teacher is on a team, the teacher will inform his or her colleagues of the assignment.)
  • After the student has had sufficient practice making text-to-text connections, the student will write in a learning log about the strategy and why/how it is helpful to him or her.


After students have had sufficient practice making text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections, the teacher will assess learning by having students read a short story, poem, or other text and make the three types of connections, writing out the connections on a graphic organizer.

Alternative/Additional Assessment: In a one-on-one conference, the student will read aloud to the teacher, making connections.

Resources Consulted:

Christen, W. L., & Murphy, T. J. (1991). Increasing Comprehension by Activating Prior Knowledge. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication Digest #61. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EDO-CS-91-04)

Keene, E. O., & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought. Heinemann.

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