This month we have been working on comparisons in room 10. Students are often asked to compare and contrast objects or ideas as part of their curriculum. Explaining how things are the same, and describing the ways they are different, is an important academic skill.

For similarities, I had students start with the words “They both…” or “They all…” to get their ideas rolling. To describe differences, we used the format “The ________ is/has _________, BUT the ________ is/has ___________.”

The books we used all had contrasting characters, which gave lots of opportunities to practice our comparing words.


Big & Little by Steve Jenkins

This book features two animals per page. Each pair is the same type of animal (cats, reptiles, snakes), but varies dramatically in size and features. For example, the ostrich and the hummingbird are BOTH birds, but one of them can fly, and the other cannot. We were able to revisit categories with this book (since one similarity of every pair was that they belonged to the same category of animal), and also learn a lot of neat animal facts!

Alex & Lulu: Two of a Kind, by Lorena Siminovick

This book is about two friends, Alex and Lulu, who are very different. The pictures are engaging, and the story interesting enough to hold the attention of the older students, while basic enough to be understood by the younger students in the class. As the story continues, Alex becomes worried that he and Lulu are TOO different to be friends, but Lulu reminds him of ways that they are similar as well as different. In the end they decide that they are the best kind of friends, and live happily ever after. Each page of the book gives a chance to talk about ways that Alex and Lulu are the same, and ways that they are different.

I found a list of books from a children’s literature blog which highlights other books that can be used to talk about comparisons, similarities, and differences. You can find it here:

TeachSpeech365 has a great [free] activity in their TPT store – Find a difference: Farm Edition.  There are 15 different scenes, each with a few things different between two pictures. It would be a great way to practice at home!

Another TPT activity is Compare/Contrast UNO! This one takes a bit more prep time to print out and laminate the cards, but it looks like great fun.

For older students, Comparing/Contrasting Frogs and Toads is a literacy activity which ties in nicely to comparing, and using a Venn diagram.

A search on TPT forcompare contrast free brought up 645 results for activities! I am not going to sort through all of them, but there are plenty here if you’re looking for more!