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Materials and Focus:

White, E.B. (1973). Stuart Little. Illustrated by Garth Williams.

Independent Reading Book(s)
Writing/Reading Journals
Iowa Core Standard(s):
o Employ the full range of research-based comprehension strategies, including
making connections, determining importance, questioning, visualizing, making
inferences, summarizing, and monitoring for comprehension.
Continuum GoalGrade 4:
Make connections between the lives and motivations of characters and their own lives,
even if the setting is a fantasy world or in the past. (p. 80)
Students will make connections to the characters actions and plot points based on the
information found in the text, as well as visual clues from the illustrations.
Following their initial connections to the immediate story, students will find connections
between to other stories as well as other areas of life (other than their personal lives).
Introduction of the Strategy
What are some of the things good readers do? (Predict, summarize, question, infer, etc.)
What does it mean to make connections? (Find places in the story that match things that
have happened to you, to people you know, or in other stories).
In order to make connections we, as readers, take in information from the book: pictures,
words, ideas, etc., and make a statement about where it has happened before.
We can draw from background knowledge, personal experiences, and even questions we
have to help build our connections.
It is also important to review connections to see if they have changed by the end of the
book, or if you can find more ways to connect to a story. Rather than just your own
personal life: does it connect to the world, does it connect to another story, does it
connect to itself?
Explicit Teaching (Introduce the book)
Today I am going to see if I can make any connections to the story of Stuart Little by
E.B. White
Before I even open the book, Im going to take a look at the cover.
o I see on the over that there is a mouse canoeing on down a stream, which reminds
me of the time that I went canoeing at Iowa State University.
Have you ever been canoeing?
After demonstrating one way to make a personal connection to the story, I read the first
chapter to the students.
o They are short chapters, so I merely read the entire thing.
Guided Practice (We Do)

Since we have talked about making connections, does anybody have a connection to what
happened in this first chapter of the story?
o Waiting for responses, rephrase or ask about certain aspects of the chapter to elicit
responses from the students.
Have you ever had a new brother or sister join the family?
Is there a time when your parents made you something new?
You do not have to make a connection to every character, or plot point of a story, but I
want you to think of 1-2 connections as we work through the second chapter of this
story. Then at the end were going to share our connections and see what we might have
in common with the rest of our class.
I want you to really pay attention to some of the things that Stuart gets asked to do, and
see if you might have been in a similar situation. Additionally, feel free to think about
other stories or events that you know of to connect toremember it doesnt have to be to
your personal life. Any questions?
At the end of the chapter, have the students share out their connections as well as some of
the supporting evidence that they used to come up with it.
o This could also be used as a time to reflect on the connections of other students,
and to see if it sparks any new thoughts from other students.
Collaborative Practice (You do together):
Since making connections happens with any story or event, there is no specific books to
be used for this section of the lessonan assortment of books would be selected at
random and distributed to the table groups.
So, now that I have demonstrated how to make connections and we worked through a
couple of chapters together as a large group, it is now your turn to see if you can make
some connections with a partner.
o I have given each table group a stack of books, and what I want you to do is, with
a partner, read oneor moreof them while making connections to the
following areas:
Your personal life (Text to self)
Another book you have read (Text to Text)
Something that has happened in the world (Text to World)
o In addition to the connections, I want you to provide some evidence as to how you
came up with that connection.
Make sure to write your connections and evidence in your writers journal
so that I can track your thinking and assess your connecting skills.
Today we started our lesson with making connections to a variety of different areas of
life. Eventually, we got to the point where we were using evidence explain how we came
about making the connection to the story. It is important to make connections while
reading, because it allows us to invest in the story. If were just read the words without
paying attention to what might be happening, we wont gain anything from the
experience. Half of the fun of reading a good book is trying to figure out what happens
next before the author tells you, but also what the author might be trying to say to us

through the story. Its always a mystery until the answers are revealed, but then again,
sometimes things are left unsaid, so it us up to us to fill in the gaps.
Independent Practice (You do alone):
Since the students have regular reading time, they are to track connections to the books
they are reading. They will make notes in their reading journals as to what they
connected to and what sparked their making that connection.
The goal is to have them demonstrate active engagement with a text: using pictures,
words and ideas to construct understanding.
They do not have to write a lot of connections, but enough to show that they are actively
engaged with the process, and understand the work that goes into it.
Most of the assessment will be informal: through reading their journals and conferencing
with the students about the books they are currently reading.
o They should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of what it takes to make
a connection and how support their findings with evidence from the story.
Occasionally, a formalized connection assignment could be administered in order to
spot check their development and understanding. Since making connections is an ongoing
process, there is no single assessment that can be administered in order to determine
whether or not they got it.
o This could also be revisited with the introduction of different types of text:
connection with fiction is different than non-fiction or poetry. So, discussion
should be had around that as well.