Reading and Exploring Texts Part 5: Making Personal Connections to Texts: Using Your Own Experiences to Enhance Understanding

This series of posts goes through the Key Knowledge and Skills for the new Area of Study 1: Reading and Exploring Texts for VCE English and EAL. Each post has a brief discussion of the Key Knowledge and Skills covered, some suggestions for resources, and five lesson activities. Even if you’re not an English teacher in Victoria, I hope you find the suggestions for activities and resources useful.

Making Personal Connections

I’ve written a lot about the ‘Personal Response’ aspect of this Area of Study, so instead of repeating myself, here’s a list of those earlier posts:

It’s also worth getting familiar with the Reading Strategy of Making Connections. This includes activating students’ prior knowledge and encouraging them to connect the context of their lives to the texts they are reading.

If you can get students to make deep and meaningful personal connections with texts, then you’ll be much more likely to see higher engagement and better writing.

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For resources and PL on the new study design, visit the VCE Hub


Here are five suggestions for lesson activities which can target this Key Knowledge and Skill:

  • Personal Connection Brainstorm: Have students brainstorm a list of personal experiences or memories that they have that could potentially connect to the set text. Have them share their ideas with a partner and discuss any potential connections.
  • Personal Connection Gallery Walk: Create a gallery of quotes or images from the set text that could potentially spark personal connections for students. Have students walk around the room and reflect on any personal connections they have to the quotes or images.
  • Personal Connection Free Write: Have students choose a passage from the set text and write a short reflection on how it connects to their own experiences or memories. Have them share their reflections with a partner and discuss any commonalities or differences in their personal connections.
  • Personal Connection Debate: Divide the class into small groups and have each group choose a different personal connection to the set text. Have the groups debate the strength and relevance of their personal connection to the text.
  • Personal Connection Presentations: Have students choose a personal connection to the set text and create a presentation (e.g. powerpoint, poster, oral presentation) to share with the class. Have them use evidence from the text to support their connection.

Have a question about this post, or anything else related to Reading, Writing, or Digital? Get in touch below:

AI Disclaimer: I used ChatGPT to construct parts of this series. I’ll be making a full post later outlining exactly what prompts I used and going through the entire process.

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