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Compare and Contrast Text Structure: Reading Comprehension Review Study Guide (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 24, 2011

POINT-BY-POINT METHOD

The point-by-point method compares or contrasts two things, characteristic by characteristic. For example, the passage you read that compared going to school with having a job was written in the point-by-point structure. Let's look at that passage.

INSIDE TRACK

THINK OF THE point-by-point method as using two lists, one for each thing being compared or contrasted. Each thing on both lists is discussed, point by point, first from one list, then the other, and back and forth.

Some might say that, in a lot of ways, going to school is similar to having a job. Like a job, attending school requires that you show up at a certain time and if you are late, there are consequences. Also, in the same way that at work, you find yourself having to get along with other people, at school you may have to work on a homework assignment with students who aren't necessarily your friends. At a job, there are frequently projects to complete by certain deadlines. Similarly, at school teachers assign homework that is due on a specific day. In these ways, going to school is very much like having a job.

The first thing the author discusses is being on time. At a job, you have to be on time and at school you have to be on time, too. Then the author discusses getting along with others you have to work with at a job and also at school. Do you see the pattern? Each aspect of having a job is directly compared to that same aspect of going to school.

BLOCK METHOD

The block method is discusses one thing fully and then the other thing fully. Using this method, the comparison between school and work might look something like this:

Some might say that, in a lot of ways, going to school is similar to having a job. When you go to school, you are expected to be there at a certain time in the morning, and there are consequences for being late. Also, you have to be able to work well with other students and turn in your homework by a certain due date. Just like school, a job also requires that you arrive at a specific time and that you are able to work well with other people. In the same way that homework is due on a certain day, oftentimes a job will require that a project be completed by a given deadline. In these ways, going to school is very much like having a job.

In this version of the passage, notice that all the aspects related to going to school are discussed first and then all the aspects related to having a job are discussed. Instead of a direct, side-by-side comparison of each aspect, the block method tells the reader all about one subject and then all about the other.

So that you can see it more clearly, here's the passage again with everything having to do with going to school underlined and everything related to having a job in italics.

Some might say that, in a lot of ways, going to school is similar to having a job. [When you go to school, you are expected to be there at a certain time in the morning and there are consequences for being late.] [Also, you have to be able to work well with other students and turn in your homework by a certain due date.] (Just like school, a job also requires that you arrive at a specific time and that you are able to work well with other people.) (In the same way that homework is due on a certain day, often times a job will require that a project be completed by a given deadline.) In these ways, going to school is very much like having a job.

As you can see, everything related to going to school is discussed first and everything related to having a job is discussed second. The block method is like two blocks, one on top of the other.

INSIDE TRACK

AS YOU'RE READING, try using pens or highlighters of two different colors to highlight, underline, or circle the aspects discussed. Use one color for one subject and another color for the other. This will help you see at a glance which substructure is being used.

INSIDE TRACK

TRY MAKING A chart like this to organize your information.

PACE YOURSELF

IF YOU WERE to compare two things, which method would you use? Is there one that seems more natural or logical to you?

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