Young readers enjoy stories more when they can relate to characters, settings, or actions of the plot. Teachers call this a "self-to-text" connection. Children envision it as being "part" of the story.
Making a "self-to-text" connection in reading enhances comprehension and memory of the story. The more "self-to-text" connections a child can make, the greater their understanding of the story.
One of the best ways to help your child increase reading connections is to give them lots of "background knowledge." For example, by taking your child to special places like the zoo, the beach, the library or a science museum, etc., you can enrich and enlarge your child’s life experiences. That can help a child understand what they read.
Connections to everyday life increase your child’s prior knowledge as well. Going to the grocery store, car wash, gas station, doing laundry, cooking, etc. can help a child relate to what is happening in a story.
For example, if your child has a favorite pet, he would probably enjoy reading stories about having a pet, such as the "Henry and Mudge" series. If your child likes knowing about the weather, she might enjoy "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."
If a young child first discovers an interest, then makes a reading connection, the result will be greater reading comprehension and enjoyment.