Comparing and contrasting are important skills for students to learn. Not only will these skills be pertinent in reading fiction and nonfiction text, but they will help students in science, social studies, math, and the arts. Anchor charts are going to be a huge help when working with compare and contrast. Compare and contrast anchor charts are visual, interactive, and they can help students organize their thoughts.
Introducing the Compare and Contrast Skills
When first introducing the skill, you will want to go over the terminology. It can also be helpful to include the types of questions that students can ask themselves when comparing and contrasting. This simple compare and contrast anchor chart shows what each word means and lists some of the clue words that students can look for in their texts. These are also terms they can learn to use in their descriptions of texts.
Additionally, students should be introduced to the Venn Diagram. I would start by comparing and contrasting things that students already know a lot about. It is easy to learn how to use this helpful diagram if they aren’t also searching for information in a text. In the example above, the teacher and students compared two animals, the elephant, and the rhino. With practice, students will learn to list individual descriptors on the outside and shared descriptors in the middle.
Anchor Charts to Compare and Contrast Two Stories
The goal is for students to be able to compare and contrast two texts, in this case, fiction stories. After some introduction, you and your students can begin practice with stories that are familiar. Stories like Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, and Goldilocks, and the Three Bears are great to start with. Each of these stories has a variety of fractured or adapted versions. It is easy to see the similarities and differences between fractured fairy tales and their “original” story.
The next step is to take a deeper dive into stories by focusing your comparison to each of the story elements. The anchor chart above includes a Venn Diagram and guiding questions for each of the story elements: character, setting and events. This will help students look for similarities and differences in more parts of each story. It will also help students understand how writers deliver similar messages within stories that you may not initially think are alike.
Another great compare and contrast anchor chart is this simple t-chart. I love anchor charts that are interactive and easily recreated. After reading two stories, students can record traits that are unique to each story on a sticky note, placing them under each title. Then, they can record similarities, things that fall under both stories, at the bottom.
Lastly, a major benefit of using compare and contrast anchor charts is that they are great tools that students can easily create on their own. So, if a student is reading a story, they could draw a Venn Diagram or T-chart on a blank sheet of paper. They can easily recall all of the modeling and practice that you did as a class and it will help them master the compare and contrast skill!
Want a FREE Compare & Contrast activity to use, too?
Do you want a free compare and contrast activity? Practice this skill with printable paired passages and graphic organizers! This freebie comes with two stories, The Three Little Pigs and Slime or Lime? With three recording pages, students can practice comparing and contrasting independently or with a partner!
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