How to Implement the Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, Text-to-World Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom

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Reading comes alive after we recognize how the concepts in content connect to our experiences and beliefs, events happening in the world, our comprehension of history, and our knowledge of other content. The text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world method helps learners develop the habit of making these connections as they read. When learners are given a purpose for their reading, they can comprehend better and make meaning of the ideas in the content. You can use this method with any content—historical or literary—and with other media, such as film. It can be used at the beginning, middle, or end of the reading process to get learners engaged with content, to help learners understand the content more intensely, or to assess learners’ comprehension of the content.


  1. Select a Text: This method works best with content that raises universal themes that may resonate with learners’ own experiences and with the material they have studied previously. Instructors often give learners their copy of the content so that they can mark it up, although this is not required.
  2. Guide Learners through Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, Text-to-World: The accompanying handout for this method provides you with sample questions that you can give learners to guide them through this learning activity. The questions included in the instructions are general but can be easily modified to connect to the material your class is studying. For instance, you may ask learners to connect what they read to particular contents or to events you have studied earlier in the school year.
  3. Debrief: Learners gain a deeper comprehension of the content and the world around them when they have the opportunity to discuss their responses with peers. Learners can share their answers with a partner, in small groups, or as part of a broader discussion.


  1. One Connection: If you are short on time, you can give learners the option of writing about one connection they have found between the content and their lives.
  2. Mapping Relationship: Social maps are a visual way to illustrate connections between people, but they can also be used to show relationships between ideas and events. An extension of this learning activity would be to have learners draw the connections they find between the content and other ideas, occurrences, or experiences. Learners can work on these maps in groups, noting the relationships among their responses.

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