Comparing and Contrasting with ELLs
Comparing and contrasting is a higher order thinking skill and an important component of reading comprehension. It is also a great way for students to practice language skills and build academic language. When students compare they look for things that are the same. When they contrast they looks for items that are different. Doing these activities helps to expand their vocabulary and gives them practice using academic vocabulary.
Comparing and Contrasting with Pictures
Show students two sets of pictures. Have them compare and contrast the pictures, telling what is the same and what is different. You can integrate content into this activity by finding pictures of topics students are learning about. For example if they are studying the butterfly life cycle show a picture of a caterpillar in on a tree and a butterfly in the sky. As students talk about the pictures they are practicing vocabulary as well.
Comparing and Contrasting with Stories
Picture books are great ways to practice listening comprehension along with comparing and contrasting. After reading two books on similar topics students can discuss what is the same and different in the stories.
Sentence frames are a helpful way to scaffold this for ELLs.
_______ and _______ are in both stories.
__________ is the same in both stores because _________.
__________ is different in both stores because _________.
The setting is the same in both stores because _________.
The setting is different in both stories because ___________.
For students with lower language levels pictures are again a good way to help them compare and contrast the two stories. Choose a picture from each storie and have those pages open while the student compares and contrasts. This allows them to point to pictures if they do not know the vocabulary word.
Comparing and Contrasting with Task Cards
I have ready made sets of premade task cards that have pictures for students to compare and contrast. These can be used for speaking practice in a small group, with partners. Students can write about them individually. Check out a free set to try them out.