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Which is the best example of a text to self connection?

A text to self connection is when a reader connects details from a text to their own personal life experiences. This helps readers engage more deeply with a text by relating it to their own knowledge and background. There are many great examples of texts that allow for text to self connections across different genres and formats. Selecting the “best” text for making this type of connection depends on the individual reader and their specific experiences. However, there are some texts that tend to lend themselves particularly well to text to self connections for many readers.

What is a Text to Self Connection?

A text to self connection occurs when a reader links information, emotions, or experiences described in a text to their own personal life. Making these connections helps readers become more actively engaged with a text, analyze it more deeply, and absorb its main ideas.

Some key aspects of text to self connections include:

  • Connecting the themes, emotions, characters, settings, or conflicts in a text to similar things the reader has experienced firsthand.
  • Thinking about how the reader’s own life, background, and personality relates to what is described in the text.
  • Considering similarities and differences between the reader’s experiences and what is depicted in the text.
  • Relating the text to the reader’s opinions, beliefs, and perspectives based on their personal experiences.
  • Applying insights and lessons from the text to the reader’s own life.

When making text to self connections, readers draw on their prior knowledge, memories, emotions, and imagination. This helps them engage with the text in an active way rather than just passively reading.

Benefits of Text to Self Connections

Encouraging text to self connections when reading offers many benefits for students and readers of all ages, including:

  • Enhances comprehension: By relating texts to personal experiences, readers deepen their understanding of concepts, characters, and events.
  • Improves retention: Connecting new information to prior knowledge makes it easier for readers to remember key points.
  • Increases engagement: When readers feel invested in a text, they are motivated to think critically and pay closer attention.
  • Sparks discussion: Sharing text to self connections allows for richer classroom conversations and analysis.
  • Builds empathy: Readers can better understand different perspectives and cultures by relating them to their own experiences.
  • Encourages reflection: Thinking about how texts relate to their lives prompts readers to gain meaningful self-knowledge.

Teachers often encourage students to share text to self connections through reading response journals, small group discussions, whole class conversations, and written responses and essays. This practice develops critical thinking and deep reading skills.

Examples of Texts that Easily Lend Themselves to Text to Self Connections

Certain types of texts easily spark text to self connections for many readers based on their subject matter, characters, style, and emotional impact. Some examples include:

Diaries or Memoirs

Reading first-person accounts of someone’s life experiences often reminds readers of their own life stories. For example, Anne Frank’s diary allows readers to connect with universal experiences of growing up, family, and tragedy. Memoirs covering important historical events also enable readers to understand the past through a personal lens.

Realistic Fiction

Novels with relatable characters and everyday life struggles and relationships encourage readers to connect aspects of the story to their own lives. Judy Blume’s coming of age tales, like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, exemplify fiction texts that draw heavily on text to self connections.

Poetry and Short Stories

The condensed format of poetry and short fiction often concentrates on universally shared emotions and experiences. Readers connect with poignant poems about grief, love, identity, and childhood like those written by Maya Angelou. Short stories also pack emotional punches relating to major life themes.

Personal Essays and Editorials

Nonfiction essays and opinion pieces that share the inner thoughts, struggles, and perspectives of the writer allow readers to find parallels with their own inner journeys. Text to self connections are easy to make with introspective essays like Joan Didion’s works.


The intimate nature of lyrics gives readers insight into a songwriter’s personal experiences and worldview. Readers often relate lyrics expressing love, loss, fear, empowerment and more to similar feelings in their own lives.

Historical Fiction

While set in the past, historical fiction full of realistic characters and relatable interpersonal drama enables readers to see across time how human experiences are universal. Novels like Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God are ripe for text to self connections despite not being set in contemporary times.

Scripts and Plays

Dramatic works crafted with moving dialogue, moral dilemmas, and emotional arcs allows audiences to see parallels between the characters’ conflicts and their own. Plays like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman provoke self-reflection about readers’ own families, aspirations, and identities.

Strategies for Making Text to Self Connections

There are many effective strategies readers can use to identify relevant text to self connections while reading:

  • Pause occasionally while reading to reflect on whether any descriptions, emotions, or events remind you of something in your own life.
  • Jot down brief notes in the margins when you feel a personal connection to a passage.
  • Discuss connections with a friend or classroom peer who is also reading the text.
  • Keep a journal with longer written reflections about text to self connections you made during reading.
  • Use graphic organizers to map similarities and differences between your experiences and the text.
  • Make your own media responding to the text based on personal connections, like art, videos or music.
  • After reading, write about a time when you felt similar emotions to characters or events in the text.

Teachers can also help prompt text to self connections by assigning creative reading projects such as:

  • Compose a personal letter to a character about shared experiences.
  • Create a Venn diagram comparing your life to a character’s.
  • Make a playlist of songs that relate to the text’s themes and your connections.
  • Draw a cartoon or illustration showing connections between your life and the text.
  • Act out a scene set in modern times based on connections to the text.

Examples of Text to Self Connections

Here are some examples of specific text to self connections readers might make:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • Relating to Scout’s curiosity about Boo Radley since you have felt curious about a mysterious house in your neighborhood.
  • Connecting with Jem’s experience of finding it unfair when Atticus couldn’t win the court case despite the truth being on his side based on times you saw injustice happen.
  • Feeling similarly to Scout when she is taunted and bullied for being different, since you have experienced bullying and being made fun of.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

  • Esperanza’s family struggles financially much like your own family.
  • You connect with Esperanza’s feeling of being between two worlds as a Latina girl navigating American culture while keeping her own cultural identity.
  • Her experiences with poverty, lack of education, and feeling different remind you of difficulties faced by your own immigrant grandparents or parents.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

  • You relate to young Maya feeling silenced and insecure as a Black girl in the racist and segregated American South.
  • Her experiences with trauma remind you of difficult things that happened in your own childhood.
  • You connect with her love of literature as books also served as an escape for you during hard times growing up.

“Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou

  • You relate to the speaker’s brave tone, as you also try to face your fears with courage.
  • Specific lines like “Shadows on the wall / Don’t bother me at all” remind you of being afraid of the dark as a child.
  • You connect with the message of finding power in yourself when you feel scared.

Challenges of Text to Self Connections

While text to self connections allow for deep engagement, there are some challenges to be aware of:

  • Readers may be inclined to focus only on their own experiences without analyzing the text critically.
  • Some readers may struggle to connect if they have very different backgrounds from the characters and themes.
  • Readers may make superficial connections that do not reflect meaningful analysis.
  • Class discussions can become dominated by students simply sharing personal anecdotes.
  • Connecting too personally may prevent readers from understanding historical or cultural context.

Teachers can help mitigate these challenges by:

  • Asking probing questions to push students beyond surface-level connections.
  • Encouraging students from diverse backgrounds to share connections.
  • Reminding students to focus on textual evidence, not just personal stories.
  • Balancing text to self with text to text and text to world connections.


Making meaningful text to self connections engages readers deeply with texts across many genres. While highly personal, this process also develops critical thinking skills when done thoughtfully. Readers gain insight into universal human experiences and themes that transcend time and culture. Linking the text’s lessons to one’s own life encourages both academic and personal growth. No single text is objectively the “best” for making text to self connections. But stories full of relatable characters, emotions and relationships have the most potential to spark these poignant links between literature and lived experience.