A few weeks ago, my two year olds and I were perusing the shelves of the library when they stumbled upon a book that they wanted to read “because there is an apple and an orange, and I like fruit!” I flipped through it and threw in into our pile. Little did I know I would be reading that book every. single. night. for the next three weeks. Luckily, the book itself is quite hilarious, with an imaginative premise and delightful artwork. I fell in love with the author Sara Pinto. The book, Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs, has children consider how two things are alike…and on the next page has a clever similarity so absurd you would never imagine think it up on your own! (Take for example…Apples and Oranges both don't wear glasses!)
Finally, differentiated task cards are a perfect way to transition into comparing and contrasting from longer reading passages. These differentiated compare and contrast task cards are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Here's a suggestion on how to use them!
There are five different types of cards in this set that progress from easiest to more difficult. They start having students compare pictures based solely on the qualities of the picture. Then, they look at a picture and compare it to something they know in their life. You can see in the above picture that there is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. Students make a list of how it is the same and different as what they see out their window right now. The third type of card has students decide whether something is being compared or contrasted–is the writer noting a similarity or a difference?
Here is a picture of the set up before students work on it. Each group (there are enough cards for 4 or 5 groups to all have different cards if you want them to) progresses through the 5 task cards on chart paper. You could have them walk around and read each other's when they are done, too.
Of course this is just the tip of the ice berg of teaching this skill. Your next step is comparing and contrasting two books, including the settings, characters, ideas, changes, etc. These activities will get you will on your way to that!
What ideas do you have for teaching students to compare and contrast? Any favorite books? Please share them in the comments!