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Activities to Help Students Make Connections With Literature

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Incorporating strategies into your lessons for making connections to literature will help students to become more engaged readers and develop the ability to comprehend texts on different levels. Each of these strategies, broken down into text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections can be used in the classroom or adapted for online learning by creating breakout rooms instead of physical groups, or using Jamboard as a brainstorming platform, for example. 

Text-To-Self Connections

Character Trait Mind Map

  1. Create a whole-class mind-map of character traits for a character 
  2. Assign pairs a character trait to find an example of in the text, and add to the mind-map 
  3. Students individually choose a character trait from the mind-map and write about how they can relate to the example given

Snowball Reflections 

  1. Hand out different reflection prompts that ask students to reflect on a connection they can make to specific events in the plot, or to how a character felt at that point in the story 
  2. Once they’ve written something down (anonymously), they crumple it up and throw their “snowball” into the middle of the room 
  3. Everyone chooses a new snowball and reflects on the connection the previous person made before making their own connection

Diamante Poem

  1. Students choose an event from the plot which resulted in the character feeling a specific emotion 
  2. Students write a diamante poem that connects the character to themselves using the following formula: 
  • Line 1: Character’s name 
  • Line 2: two words describing how they feel 
  • Line 3: three words describing why they feel this way
  • Line 4: four words describing how this emotion feels
  • Like 5: three words describing why you can relate
  • Line 6: two words describing how you felt similarly
  • Line 6: Your name






Blind rage

Seeking his revenge 

Emotional wounds never heal

Feeling so betrayed

Deep anger


Text-To-Text Connections

Four Corners Investigation 

  1. Display pictures from four different movies that students are familiar with in the four corners of the classroom
  2. Ask students to stand in the corner with the movie that they feel relates to the text being studied in class
  3. Each of the four groups will then graffiti all of the similarities between the texts (the movie and the class text) and then present to the class 

Thematic Elements Memory Matching Game 

  1. Place cards face down, each describing how different themes are portrayed in a story, as well as how the same themes are portrayed in other texts (books, movies, etc.) so that each theme from the class text has a pair in the game from another text 
  2. Students take turns trying to make matches 
  3. The student who collects the most matching pairs wins 

Story Soundtrack 

  1. Assign a specific scene or chapter from a piece of literature, or let students choose their scene if the text has been completely read
  2. Ask students to imagine this text has been turned into a movie – what song might be appropriate to play during this scene? 
  3. Students write about how their song choice suits the mood, and plot of the scene – Do the lyrics relate in some way? Is the tone of the song similar to the tone in the scene? 
  4. To extend this activity into a larger assignment, students can create an entire soundtrack of songs for the text as a whole and explain their text-to-text connections between song choices and the text

Text-To-World Connections

Newspaper Collage 

  1. Create a bulletin board collage of news articles that relate to the issues and themes in a class text
  2. Each student should contribute one article and contribute the text-to-world connection between the class text and the article (the article can be current or historical)

Sharing Circle 

  1. Divide class into small groups and provide each group with an article that relates to the issues and themes in a class text
  2. After groups discuss, arrange chairs in a circle and conduct a whole-class sharing circle by asking students to share one thing they learned from the articles, one thing they found surprising, or one question they still have after reading 
  3. Then as a whole group, discuss how the articles relate to the class text

Getting Sketchy 

  1. Provide students with a selection of events in the plot that could relate to real-world events (or let them choose)
  2. Students look online for an image depicting a real-world event that relates to the plot – this activity works especially well when you are working with a text that references historical events or takes place in a specific time period
  3. Students cut the image in half vertically and glue to a piece of paper so that they have a blank half they can draw on. Students then draw the other half of the picture but include details to relate it to the text – for example, incorporating one of the characters or setting details

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