Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 17 July 2020


This week, Emma Nuttall explores the power of story to connect readers in numerous ways. This post is sure to help readers make their own connections to particular shared moments and texts.

We read for pleasure. To gain knowledge. To seek out a deeper sense of self. To understand the world around us. I wonder if we also read stories as a means of connecting with others?

In the classroom setting, we talk about making connections as a comprehension strategy. We talk about connecting our own lives and experiences to texts; connecting texts to other texts; and connecting the text with the world around us.  We use connection as a tool for engaging with the text and deepening our understanding of what we are reading.

But do we fully appreciate the power of stories to connect with others? To build and deepen relationships?

A carefully chosen class novel has the power to bring the group together. Reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen during the learning at home period, forged a bond within the dispersed class group. The bond grew out of the shared understanding of the lead character’s turmoil. The group quickly became empathetic to his plight and lived his experiences together as one, despite the distance between us. The process, the story and their mutuality strengthened the bond of the group and deepened the children’s understanding of the text. Connections were realised.

My adult book group is a group bonded by shared experiences of motherhood and friendship. Discussions occur throughout the reading process, each of us itching to determine where the friend is in the book, eager to discuss, to share, to connect with our own lives and experiences. In doing so, we are also deepening our friendship through the shared experience. Deeper connections are established.

Bedtime reading rituals strengthen and deepen the parent-child bond. My recollections of Jack and the Beanstalk repeatedly told to my much younger self when I needed it most, even now bring about a sense of calm. I now turn to stories with my own children. The shared experience that bonds, that calms, that takes us to a place of contentedness and togetherness. Connections are born.

And what of the as-yet-untold story? The made-up story, created together? On a class walk a class group were challenged to make up stories, using their surroundings as inspiration, to share with their younger buddy during the walk.

“What was the purpose of that task?” we discussed on return to school.

The initial discussion was around the power of drawing on our surroundings as a creative writing technique.

One voice piped up, “To help us to build a relationship with our buddies.”

Next time you curl up to read your favourite story, consider the powerful connections you will make in sharing it.

Emma Nuttall
Teacher, Literacy Coach, Avid Reader and Parent of readers

Editor's note: Can you think of a book that has helped a child make a special connection? Please share as a comment.

1 comment:

  1. I want to go home! by Gordon Korman. Read aloud to a grade 5/6 who could be a bit challenging in their library period. This book created a strong bond between the students and me (the teacher librarian). I think they could see a bit/lot of the Counsellor Chip in my dealings with them, and that I couldn't help laughing out loud about Rudy's behaviour, let us see each other in a different light.