Summer holidays are not only a time for travel but can also be a time for making connections to what we read.
I am currently in Devon with my family, not far from Torquay. Agatha Christie was born in Torquay and used many of the nearby locations for scenes in her novels. Arthur Conan Doyle set The Hound of the Baskervilles in Dartmoor in Devon. Last year, I spent a few days in the Lake District and was able to see some of the locations from Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series.
Making connections between real life and what we read is so important. It helps open the door to the world of wider concepts and deeper understanding of the texts and has been shown to increase retention of information.
Of course, we can’t always visit a location from a book (wouldn’t that make a great round the world trip?!) but we can help children make connections in other ways.
You can begin when children are very young by:
⭐️ thinking about an emotion a character is expressing and discussing a time when they felt the same way.
⭐️ noticing similarities between characters in the book and themselves. Does a character have the same toy as them? Or like the same foods?
⭐️ observing differences between their own lives and the lives of the characters. That character lives on a farm while I live in a city.
For older children, you can help them make connections in deeper ways by:
⭐️ realising that the experiences people have in times different to our own still create the same conflicts and resolutions we face today.
⭐️ thinking about how the themes in one book relate to other books they have read.
⭐️ imagining themselves in the place of a character and how they would react.
As adults, we make these connections automatically. But children need to be taught to make these connections through the discussions we have with them. Doing this will ensure they not only understand and retain the information they read but also engage them in a love of reading.