Comparing and contrasting elements in narrative texts involves identifying how story elements, situations, and plots are alike and different. Comparing items helps readers make connections and conclusions between key elements in a story and contrasting allow kids to better understand conflict and symbolism. Put your kid to the test and have him compare and contrast elements in a narrative text by identifying how characters and situations are alike and different.
What You Do:
- Have your child begin by drawing two large circles on a sheet of paper, linking them in the center to create a venn diagram. The intersection should have enough space for your kid to write.
- Start simple by choosing two things to compare and contrast. For example, compare shoes and shirts or televisions and radios. In the outer circles, list the differences between the objects, and in the area where the circles intersect, note the similarities.
- The next step is to use the same diagram to compare and contrast familiar characters from a story or book. Have your child select characters from a book or short story that he is currently reading at home or in school.
- Then have him list the differences between the characters in the outer circles, and the similarities between the characters where the circles intersect. To keep from getting off track and too complex, focus on the actions of the characters. For a more advanced challenge, try analyzing some of the character’s dialogue, motivations, or roles in the text.
The skill of comparing and contrasting is an important one. It helps students focus on specific details, such as character or tone, that form the underpinnings of the story. This not only helps with reading comprehension, but it's also an essential skill in writing essays and reports in high school and college.
Liza Jenkins is a middle school Language Arts teacher and private tutor from Maryland. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.