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Compare and Contrast - Grade 4

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Compare and Contrast - Grade 4

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Compare and contrast questions simply ask the student to find ways that two or more things are the same or different. Sometimes the test writer will ask the reader to make a comparison from something in the text to something in his or her own life. Other times they are asking the child to recognize when the author used compare and contrast as a text structure, usually in nonfiction text. If students are struggling with this benchmark, do some of the primary activities before you try the intermediate ones. The primary activities usually ask students to compare and contrast very obvious characteristics like good and evil or physical characteristics such as color, size and shape. Remember to ask your students to compare characters, settings and/or events in a passage. Please see below for a selection of Leveled Lessons for Below Level (basic), and/or On Level (median), and/or Above Level (competent) readers.
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Teaching Tips

If you think that your students do not already have a clear understanding of "compare and contrast," then use the terms "same and different." Start with the obvious. After reading a short story, have students tell ways that the two characters were the same and different. They will probably point to the obvious, physical characteristics (one is a boy, one is a girl; one is tall, the other is short), and you should accept those answers. Gradually guide students to more complicated answers such as "one has courage to act and the other hid in fear." Be prepared for some students to make comparisons that you have not considered; all answers should be "text-based," meaning that they should not be broad inferences. It is common to ask students to compare characters, but remember that test writers also require that students be able to compare events, settings, plots, and motives. Repeat this activity by asking students questions from the following list: What terrible (or wonderful, or funny or unusual) thing happened at the beginning of the story? How does this compare to what happened at the end? What parts of this plot were the same as another story we have read this year? Both of the main characters had a clear motive for his actions. How were these motives the same and how were they different?