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It is well-known that good readers make personal connections to stories. These self-to-text connections help children deepen their understanding of what is being read. Below are four concepts to help your child to relate to stories that he is listening to, or reading.
Life experiences can help build your child’s prior knowledge for reading comprehension. For example, when you take your child to the beach, lake, zoo, park, or local farm, you increase her understanding of different settings in life. In education we call this building schema. Simply defined, schema is the database of life experiences.
Encourage reading connected to family life. For example, if you have a family pet, read books together about dogs, cats, fish, etc. She’ll understand how owners take care of pets, and how pets add to family life.
If he loves dinosaurs, generate opportunities to delve deeply into that fascinating subject. Get different dinosaur books from your local library. If possible, visit a museum with dinosaur displays. Get some small toy dinosaurs, and help him learn about the different types of dinosaurs and their characteristics.
Compare and contrast:
When children compare and contrast, they are simply thinking about how things are alike, and how they are different. Together you might read a fiction book, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell, and compare and contrast the story to a nonfiction book about a real dog. One non-fiction example I’ve read with my class is The Bravest Dog Ever, The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. How are Clifford and the Balto alike? How are they different? Encourage your child to list at least three examples for each.
Practicing these four simple enhancement steps will help your child become a good, comprehensive reader!