Teaching compare and contrast can be an exciting adventure when using Fairy Tales! Comparing and contrasting is a higher-level reading comprehension skill that can be a bit tricky for younger students. Using a variety of visuals such as anchor charts, puppets, and familiar stories like Fairy Tales eases this transition to higher-order thinking.
Begin with something familiar, like comparing and contrasting objects. Be sure to introduce the terms compare and contrast and more familiar synonyms like ‘similar’ and ‘differences’ or ‘same’ and ‘different’. Young learners are quite skilled at finding the similarities and differences between simple concrete objects. A red block and a blue block will get them warmed up. Then, move on with another example using familiar animals like in the chart above, comparing and contrasting a zebra and giraffe.
Compare and Contrast Key Words Anchor Chart
A collection of keywords frequently used when comparing and contrasting makes a great reference chart for your young learners during compare and contrast activities.
If your students are ready, have them work as a whole group with you to list words they would use when comparing and contrasting. Then add them to an anchor chart to display in the classroom for reference. If your students are ready, have them brainstorm the terms and write them on sticky notes to place on an anchor chart in the correct column. After a whole group discussion, you can write them out on the chart paper for reference. Anchor charts are most effective when students are directly involved with the creation of the chart. For more great tips and tricks on anchor charts check out my blog post Tips & Tricks for Creating Anchor Charts.
Introducing the Venn Diagram
Hula hoops are a fantastic tool for introducing the most common Venn diagram used most often when students participate in comparing and contrasting activities. Again, I start with objects, progress to animals, and finally, books when teaching compare and contrast.
Venn Diagram Anchor Chart
Compare and Contrast Story Elements
If we look closely at what it is exactly students are comparing and contrasting in books, we find that they are comparing and contrasting story elements. A great way to incorporate story elements is to teach compare and contrast and vice versa!
Start with a brief review of key story elements.
I recently discovered dry erase phrase strips! These are amazing if you do not have the option to laminate anchor charts.
If you do have the option to laminate your anchor charts once they are made, I highly recommend it! You can then write directly on them with dry-erase markers and reuse them. Even better kids can write directly on them!
This anchor chart for comparing and contrasting the books is laminated so I can write directly on it. Everything in color was written before it was laminated. Now, I can just wipe it off and the class can compare and contrast two new books. The puppets came in a fun mini reading series we received that included several fairy tales.
Puppets are a great interactive way for students to retell stories. Retelling stories is necessary for students to compare and contrast stories. If you do not have access to puppets, you could have students create stick or finger puppets for the stories you plan to compare and contrast.
Baker Ross has some great free finger puppets for common fairy tales.
For more fun, check out this post with Fairy Tale Activities for Kindergarten.
Ready to Compare and Contrast Books
Now that you have reviewed the foundational skills for comparing and contrasting. Your kiddos are more than ready to compare and contrast fun books! I highly recommend Fairy Tales and their plentiful fractured versions! I gravitate toward the ones below, they get lots of giggles and are very engaging!
Jessica Gunderson’s The Other Side of the Story Books can be bought individually or in sets. They are also fantastic for teaching points of view and perspective.
Below is a nice alternative to the typical circular Venn Diagram for comparing and contrasting.
I hope you find these compare and contrast activities, anchor charts, and tips useful in your K-3 classroom!