Lesson plan

Comparing Texts by the Same Author

Getting hooked on a series or type of character creates reader engagement! Use this lesson to challenge your students to compare and contrast fictional texts as they find the joy in reading books by the same author.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Pick Out the Parts of a Story pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Pick Out the Parts of a Story pre-lesson.

Students will be able to compare and contrast the themes, settings, and events of two stories written by the same author.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(3 minutes)
  • Draw a Venn diagram on the board and ask students to complete a Think-Pair-Share activity as they brainstorm its uses. First, they will think about the purpose of the graphic organizer. Then, they will share with a partner before sharing out as a whole group.
  • Label the sections of the Venn diagram (i.e., Text 1, Text 2, Both) and explain that this is the most common tool used to organize information as you compare and contrast. To compare is to find the similarities between two or more things. To contrast is to find the differences between two or more things.
  • Go over the learning objective and have the class repeat it aloud.
(20 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the worksheet Compare Story Elements, and explain that this is a modified Venn diagram. Point out similarities (they have a section for the similarities and two sections for the differences and they serve the same purpose) and differences (the shapes of the graphic organizers are different and there are specific sections labeled in one, while the other is blank).
  • Review story elements that we should pay attention to when we read fictional texts. Display the key story elements (character, setting, problem, major events, solution, theme) and provide a student-friendly definition of each.
  • Explain that you will read aloud two texts that are in the same series. Display the two books, such as Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School and Detective LaRue - Letters from the Investigation, and allow students to chat about any similarities and differences they notice on the cover (e.g., author’s name, characters, setting).
  • Have each student take out a piece of paper and divide it into two sections. Have them write the titles of the books at the top, and tell them that they will take notes about the story elements in each book during the read aloud. (Note: At this point, they are not determining the similarities and differences. They are just jotting information about the story elements.)
  • Read aloud the two fiction books and instruct students to take notes.
  • Model completing the Theme section on the graphic organizer, thinking aloud about the lessons the characters learned at the end of the stories and how that relates to life in general.
(15 minutes)
  • Put students into small groups and give them time to compare their notes about the story elements for each story. Instruct them to highlight, or circle, the information they agree should be included in the graphic organizer.
  • Distribute a copy of the Compare Story Elements worksheet and guide the class in completing the section labeled Characters. Have learners record the information on the graphic organizers.
  • Assign each group a section of the graphic organizer on which they will become ‘experts’. Give them time to complete the section as a group.
  • Scramble the students so that there is an expert from each section in a group together. Have them present their information to their new groups. Instruct students to record the information their peers present.
  • Hold a class discussion and record student answers on the teacher copy of the Compare Story Elements graphic organizer.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the A Tale of Two Texts worksheet. Instruct students to read the two texts independently and complete the graphic organizer that compares the story elements. In addition, students should answer the question about the similarities between the two main characters.


Enrichment: Have advanced students read a third book in the series that was used in class, such as Letters from the Campaign Trail by Mark Teague, and compare all three books. Ask them to write a paragraph explaining the similarities and differences, and then share it with the class. Challenge them to analyze the author’s style that they see across the series.

(5 minutes)
  • Provide a compare and contrast paragraph frame for students to complete about the two texts in the worksheet entitled A Tale of Two Texts. Have them write it on a piece of paper or in a journal. For example:, "The two texts are similar because ____. They are different because ____. In the first text, ____, while in the second text, ___."
(2 minutes)
  • Review students’ paragraph frames about the similarities and differences between the two texts in the A Tale of Two Texts worksheet.
  • Remind students that we gain a powerful understanding of texts when we compare and contrast them with other texts. Tell them that once they discover a book they enjoy, whether it is in a series or not, it's always a great idea to look up other books written by the same author because most likely, the author's style and story elements used are similar.

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