A study from the University of Buffalo stated that reading fiction improves people's empathy. So, the more time you spend putting yourself in a fictional character's shoes, the better you are at understanding the non-fictional people in your real life. Interesting, isn’t it? It not only helps you connect with others, but also your inner self.
As books help us to connect with others, it is equally important for us to connect with books. There are many other benefits of reading books so in each case we need to connect with the book we are reading. For example, reading reduces stress levels and help to keep our mind happy. Reading fosters deeper, kinder connections between people. Books can help you start conversations that you wouldn't know how to handle otherwise.
So let us see how we can connect with the book we read which in turn will help us build more connections, both with people and Nature.
Connecting with Text
· Visualize- You can be a part of the story and think about how the setting and characters look.
· Focus on the characters- Compare them to yourself and people you know.
· React as a character- Think about how you would react in a similar situation.
· Look at problems- Compare the problems and solution to your real-life situations.
· Ask yourself questions as you read- Think about how the story relates to your life, and things that you know.
· If you are reading a book, and don’t connect with it, may be try a different where you will be able to make connections.
Types of Connections
There are three main types of connections that can be made during reading:
Text-to-Self: These are the connections made between the text and the reader's personal experiences.
Text-to-Text: These are the connections made between a text being read to a text that was previously read. Text-to-World: These are the connections made between a text being read and something that occurs/has occurred in the world.
Let us briefly discuss some of the ways in which we can make these connections and get the best out of reading.
CREATING MENTAL IMAGES (VISUALIZING)
Visualization has always been a powerful tool. It involves the ability of readers to make mental images of a text they read as a way to understand processes or events. This indicates that a reader understands the text. Research suggests that readers who visualize as they read are better able to recall what they have read than those who do not visualize. The readers who can imagine the characters they read about become more involved with what they are reading. This makes reading experience more meaningful and it promotes continued reading.
QUESTIONING The ability of readers to ask themselves relevant questions as they read is especially valuable in helping them to integrate information, introspect, identify main ideas, and summarize information. Asking the right questions allows a good reader to focus on the most important information in a text. For kids, this also helps in building analytical perspective and opinion.
INFERRING Sometimes, authors do not provide complete descriptions of, or explicit information about a topic, setting, character, or events. However, they often leave cues and clues for the readers to make inferences that combine information in the text and their mode of connection.
In this strategy, it is important to understand why you are reading a book or a text and then making decisions about what information or ideas are most critical to understand the overall meaning of the same. It also needs a bit of filtering to focus on crucial parts which will be your main takeaway.
SYNTHESIZING This is the process of ordering, recalling, retelling, and recreating a definite ecosystem from the plethora of information to which we are exposed to every day. Synthesizing is closely linked to evaluating. When we have evaluated what is important, it becomes easy to organize our thoughts to form a comprehensive perspective where the whole greater than just the sum of the parts.
Often, we have seen that kids are not willing to finish a book or they are disinterested because they feel, it is too boring, or they are not able to understand or it doesn’t mean anything to them.
The most probable reason for this can be that they are not able to connect properly with the book they are reading.
When readers make connections to the texts they read, they are more likely to
understand what they read, remember what they read, and enjoy what they read.
And, if you help them a little, maybe it won’t be so difficult for them. Strong readers make connections every time they read which comes to them naturally as they keep reading more and more. They connect to characters and events in texts; they connect to settings, themes, and messages in texts. So, ensure that your child is not only reading a book, but connecting with it as well.