Lesson Plan

Compare and Contrast Short Stories

By fourth grade, most students are familiar with story elements such as setting, characters, and plot. In this lesson, students will compare and contrast the elements in two stories with similar themes.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Problems and Solutions in Fiction pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Problems and Solutions in Fiction pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify similarities and differences between two short stories with similar themes.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Compare and Contrast Fictional Stories: PersephoneComparing Two Stories
  • Ask students to name some of their favorite fiction stories and record students' answers on a piece of chart paper.
  • Ask students to discuss with a partner why these stories are their favorites. If needed, guide students with the following questions:
    • Do you enjoy the characters?
    • Is the plot or series of events exciting?
    • Is the theme or topic one that matters to you?
  • Tell students that oftentimes readers discover a passion for a particular book genre or type of story, and decide to stick with this type of literature for a period of time. For example, some kids like a particular author or books in a series. Explain to students that skillful readers regularly compare and contrast stories with similar themes, especially if it is a theme the reader enjoys. Explain that a story's theme is also known as the overarching topic or issue in a story; it's essentially what the story is all about.
  • Inform students that today they will compare and contrast elements of two short stories that both deal with a similar theme.


  • Show samples of books in a series or books by the same author to provide greater context for learners.


  • Provide sentence stems to use as students discuss their favorite fiction book titles. For example, "My favorite stories are ____."