EL Support Lesson

Making Text Connections

This lesson helps your students practice making text connections so they can write about their reading. It can be taught on its own or serve as a precursor to the Reading Response Letters lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Reading Response Letters lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Reading Response Letters lesson plan.

Students will be able to make connections to a text and correctly format a letter about a book they have read.


Students will be able to make connections to a text and write a thinking paragraph using a paragraph frame.

(2 minutes)
  • Have students read the language objective to a partner.
  • Explain to students that they will practice making different types of connections to a short fiction story before they write about the story in a reading response paragraph.
(8 minutes)
  • Display the Glossary worksheet, distribute a copy to each student, and read aloud the student-friendly definitions. If applicable, include the definitions in students' L1.
  • Provide contexts and examples of each vocabulary word to familiarize students.
  • Assign students meaningful partnerships and have students complete the gaps in the glossary of the key terms.
  • Invite a few students to use each word in a sentence verbally.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Making Connections with Texts Concept Web worksheet to students and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Explain to students that good readers should know how to write about the stories they read. Elaborate that part of writing reading responses is learning how to make connections to the text.
  • Expand upon the three types of connections and provide examples of each.
  • Emphasize the purpose of making connections with texts (to deepen understanding of the text), and the variety of ways people share the connections they make to stories (in an essay, letter, or visual art).
  • Hand out the Part 1: Making Connections with Texts worksheet to students and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Read aloud the text and tell students to follow along.
  • Write the following comprehension questions on the board and give students a minute to think of their answers:
    • How did Liam feel about the math test before he took it?
    • How did Liam prepare for the test?
    • What did Liam do on the day of the test?
    • How did Liam feel after he took the test?
  • Show students how you answer the first question, citing text evidence to support your answer. For example, "Liam felt nervous about the math test because the text said math was difficult for him."
  • Place students into partnerships, such as ELs with the same home language or Beginner ELs with helpful Intermediate ELs, and have them take turns answering the next three questions.
  • Listen in on students' conversations and ask a few non-volunteers to share the answers discussed with their partners to the whole group.
(7 minutes)
  • Have students work with the same partner to read the text for a second time together.
  • Model to students how to choose one example from each type of text connection (text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world). Mark the box and state your connections orally. For example:
    • This story reminds me of the time I caught a friend cheating on a test and I told my parents about it. (text-to-self)
    • This story has the theme of the importance of being true to yourself and being honest which is similar to a story I read about someone who lied to get a job. (text-to-text)
  • Instruct students to share at least three connections with their partner orally, one from each category, using the sentence stems/frames as guidance.
  • Circulate and offer help as needed.
  • Tell students to write two of their favorite text connections on the lines provided.


  • Highlight 2–3 key parts of the text from the Part 1: Making Connections with Texts worksheet that are most conducive to making a connection.
  • Allow students to work with another EL with the same home language, or with a helpful and sympathetic non-EL to write text connections together.
  • Instead of having students complete the paragraph frame in the formative assessment section, have them only focus on writing more connections with the text, using the sentence stems and frames provided in the Part 1 worksheet.


  • Assign students another fiction story at fourth grade reading level and instruct them to write a reading response paragraph independently.
  • Ask students to to complete a reading response paragraph in Part 2 without using the paragraph frame.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Part 2: Using your Text Connections in a Thinking Paragraph worksheet to students and read the directions aloud. Ask students to rephrase the directions to a table partner.
  • Remind students to refer to their text connections in Part 1 to complete the reading response paragraph frame.
  • Circulate the room and offer assistance as needed.
  • Invite a few students to read aloud their paragraphs upon completion of the assessment.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to discuss the following question, displayed on the board, in a small group of 3–4:
    • Why is it important to know how to talk or write about the stories we read? (e.g., because it will help us make more sense of the story)
  • Listen to students' discussions and ask each group to share key points of their discussions to the whole group.

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