5 Fun Ways To Teach The Reading Skill Compare And Contrast

There are many activities you can do to introduce and reinforce the reading comprehension skill of compare and contrast. This reading strategy is fun to teach because you can add a lot of interactive elements into your mini-lessons. Here are five compare and contrast examples that you can use in your classroom.

compare and contrast

I like to introduce compare and contrast by asking for two volunteers. And by asking, I mean picking the two students that I’ve already selected but pretending it’s totally random. I’ve already scouted my class for two kiddos who have at least three things the same, and three things that are different. Here’s what I look for:

  • Shoes – laces vs. no laces
  • Pants vs. Shorts
  • Glasses vs. no glasses
  • Hairstyles
  • Color of clothing

A note about skin color. It’s not a deciding factor in choosing my students, but I also don’t mind if they find similarities and differences in the color of their skin. It’s a good thing to show diversity.

When my two (cough) volunteers come to the front of the room, I ask my students to point out the things that are the same, and I make a list on the board. Then we discuss the things that are different and add to our list. That’s my first method to teach compare and contrast, here are the rest!

Compare and Contrast Anchor Charts

Once I’m done with my list, I tell my students that there are two big words to describe finding things that are the same and different, and I write the words “Compare” and “Contrast” on my anchor chart. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, so I like to check out some amazing anchor charts that you can find there. But, and I’ve said this before… your anchor chart needs to be functional before anything else. So don’t worry about your chart being “Pinterest-worthy”! My compare and contrast chart usually has a Venn Diagram with the examples of the children we used as an example earlier.

I’m guilty of making an anchor chart and NEVER looking at it again. An anchor chart is only as effective as the information on it, but if your students only see it one time, then you’re missing opportunities for spiral review and growth. But the reality is that you don’t have time. You just don’t. So I add my anchor charts to my reading station so there’s a chance for them to be seen one more time. 

I’m a firm believer in blending traditional and digital resources. A lot of times there’s no room for my chart at my reading station, so I made a digital anchor chart for my students to see. I put these right in front of every compare and contrast activity on Seesaw or Google Slides. That way, I know that they see it at least one more time. 

Use Stock Images To Teach Compare And Contrast

I also use a lot of stock images to introduce reading strategies. Inferencing is a great reading skill to practice with stock images, but so is compare and contrast. Look for images that are the same subject, but with subtle differences. 

There are a lot of free stock images out there, but here are some in a compare and contrast unit that you can use today!

Add Compare and Contrast Activities To Your Literacy Stations

I add new reading comprehension skills to my reading stations every week. Here’s how I set up my literacy stations with compare and contrast activities.

I always add a video mini-lesson to my reading comprehension literacy stations. That way my kiddos hear about the skill one more time! The more compare and contrast examples they hear, the better they’ll understand the reading skill. The video also explains the upcoming activity, so you won’t have to repeat your directions. In this case, this video tells my students all about Venn Diagrams. They’ll learn what they are and how to use them. It’s mini-lessons and instructions all in one!

compare and contrast

I’ve mixed reading passages with interactive activities for more student engagement. Here is one of many reading passages that my kiddos read and move the pictures to the Venn Diagram to match the story. Remember, they’ll learn all about Venn Diagrams in the video, so they’ll know how to do this without extra directions for me!

compare and contrast
Don’t forget your printable compare and contrast activities too!

Here Are Some Compare And Contrast FREEBIES!

Who doesn’t love bookmarks?

compare and contrast

I know, as a teacher, I spend waaaaaay more money on my classroom than I’d like to admit. So when I can find a free deal that will help my students improve their reading, I’m going to grab it while I can. Here are some FREE printable bookmarks for reading comprehension that you can download today! There are 15 reading comprehension skills, including compare and contrast.

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Rachael Hull

Rachael Hull

Teaching literacy and facilitating literacy stations has been a passion of Rachael's and she wants to help you gain confidence in your classroom!


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