Making Connections While CLOSE Reading

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SWBAT to read closely and write the connections they make to other texts we have read, to society, and to themselves.

Big Idea

Connecting various texts together to help with comprehension can be tricky. Students will take an interesting story that will be easy to form connections to many things we have learned already; like Martin Luther King Jr.

The Connections We Can Make

2 minutes

During CLOSE reading I have found that it is still a very new concept. We have been practicing often throughout the year, and it is still a bit tricky. The class knows the routines involved in the lesson, and are comfortable with the basic annotations. 

To being this lesson I start with a review of the annotations and add them to the board. I then write a large C next to them. The class remembers that the C is for Connections. I explain that during this CLOSE reading they will be focusing on all the connections they can make. I remind them that connections can be formed between text to text, text to world, and text to self.

Read, Annotate and Connect

15 minutes

For this lesson I have chosen an article about Ruby Bridges, one of the first African American children to integrate into white Alabama schools. I chose it because of the easy connections they could draw from our readings and lessons on Martin Luther King Jr. and the Alabama Bus Boycotts. 

Students need time to read and annotate the article. I remind them of what this sounds and looks like in the room. Before they begin reading I ask them to really focus on any parts of the article that they can make connections to. This will really help them when writing their first responses. The direction I give are to read, annotate, and then write an initial response with connections. It is now up to them to focus on their reading and make their annotations. They will also need to write their first response to what they have read and try to make connections to the text.  I give them the time needed to do this. 


Here are some Ruby Bridges articles you might want to use:


Ruby Bridges: African American World History PBS 

Ruby's Story

Ruby Bridges: The Story


The Teacher's Role

10 minutes

When they are finished with their writing, it is now my turn to model the reading and annotation processes. I read the story straight through the first time. Making sure to read fluently and pausing after each paragraph to show the class that I am checking for understanding. 

The second time I read I explain that I am going to focus on the main ideas and also on trying to make connections. The connections that I am looking for are text to text, text to world, and text to self. I want to also look for evidence that might help me show these connections.

I read the article again, and I model circling unknown words, underlining important and key details, and then placing a "C" by any text that I can make a connection to. If I need to model adding notes to the margins I will, however, I am really trying to focus this reading on making connections.

Final Connections

5 minutes

The final piece is allowing the class to add to their initial response. I remind them to add details that they believe help them explain their connections. I model an example of how I can connect Ruby's first day with my firs day of school. I then give them more time to write. 

When the time ends, I collect their responses. I also have a debriefing session where students can talk to each other about what they read. I ask them to explain the connections they have made and also to talk about who Ruby was. I bring up the character trait of courage and ask them to talk about how this word could help describe Ruby.