EL Support Lesson

Comparing Literature Themes

Your ELs will compare and contrast two similar stories while strengthening their grammar skills related to noun and pronoun agreement in this lesson. Use it as a stand-alone lesson or as a precursor to the lesson Venn Diagram Collage.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Venn Diagram Collage lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Venn Diagram Collage lesson plan.

Students will be able to compare and contrast themes and patterns of events in literature.


Students will be able to compare and contrast themes with subject and pronoun agreement using a graphic organizer.

(2 minutes)
  • Read the language objective aloud and have students repeat it to a partner.
  • Emphasize that today students will learn how to compare and contrast two similar stories. Reiterate that to compare is to point out things that are the same, and to contrast is to state what is different between two things (in this case, two stories).
(8 minutes)
  • Inform students that they will first learn new vocabulary related to the topic of this lesson.
  • Read each Tier 2 word aloud and display the vocabulary cards on the document camera. Note: Leave these cards posted for the duration of the lesson.
  • Have students read the definition and look at the image. Note: It is helpful to demonstrate these words by acting them out too. Provide an example of the word in a sentence and instruct students to take turns with a partner, orally stating a sentence with the word it in. Invite a few students to share.
  • Display a blank Frayer Model and show students how you complete it for the word subject, writing the definition, examples and non-examples, and an illustration.
  • Hand out a Frayer Model to each pair of students and assign them one of the remaining Tier 3 words. Have students work with their partner to complete the Frayer Model before briefly presenting their work to the whole class.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that all sentences must have a subject. A subject is what or who the sentence is about, and is usually a noun. Ask students to turn to a partner to define the term "noun." Confirm their responses.
  • Tell them that when writers write about the same noun multiple times, they often replace it with a pronoun in later sentences so that the writing is not repetitive. Reiterate that a pronoun is a word that replaces a noun, such as "he," "she," "we," "it," etc.
  • Distribute the Subjects: Noun and Pronoun Agreement worksheet to students and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Read the teaching box to students, and go over the pronoun table. Model to students how you complete the first problem in the first part of the worksheet. Have students work in their table groups to complete this section.
  • Instruct students on the importance of noun and pronoun agreement and share some incorrect examples (e.g., "David likes to paint. She is good at it."). Model how to fill in the blank with the first sentence and ask students to complete the rest of the sentences independently.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Compare Similar Stories worksheet to students. Remind them that some of the vocabulary they learned earlier in the lesson will appear in this worksheet, so they are encouraged to refer to the Vocabulary Cards on display.
  • Read the two texts aloud, pausing to clarify meaning as needed. Instruct students to read the texts a second time with a partner.
  • Point out that the texts includes both subjects and pronouns. Note that the pronoun "they" is used to refer to Elias and Anita. Ask students to point out any pronouns and the nouns to which they refer.
  • Model aloud your thinking to answer the second question first. For example, "Elias and Anita both have a similar problem. They don't like to do important things when they should. They put them off to do them later and then they get in trouble."
  • Tell students to use this sentence frame to answer the first comprehension question with a partner: "Elias and Anita are different because Elias ____, but Anita ____." Invite a few students to share their sentences.
  • Instruct students to answer the remaining questions by referring to the two texts and working together with their partner.
  • Review students' answers as a class.


  • Allow beginning ELs to use bilingual resources to define new words throughout the lesson.
  • Strategically pair beginning ELs with more advanced ELs or students who speak the same home language.


  • Allow advanced ELs to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, or dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
  • Have advanced ELs complete the formative assessment independently.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask advanced ELs to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in class discussion.
(6 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will work in partners to complete a graphic organizer to further compare and contrast the theme of the two stories they read.
  • Assign new partnerships or leave the original pairs. Distribute a copy of the Compare & Contrast Themes worksheet.
  • Have students write the titles ("Text 1" and "Text 2") and complete the worksheet with their partner. Challenge students to use pronouns on the worksheet.
(4 minutes)
  • Ask students to consider why they think it is important to compare and contrast similar stories.
  • Invite a few pairs to share their completed graphic organizer.

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