Teaching compare and contrast in first grade is a tool we can use to teach reading comprehension to our students in first grade. In First Grade, our students learn lots of different skills to read and understand what they’re reading better. In this post We’ll discuss what exactly comparing and contrasting means in first grade as well as some fun ideas you can incorporate in your classroom to make teaching this skill fun!
What is Comparing & Contrasting?
In comparing, we talk about how different texts are similar. In contrast, we discuss with our students how different texts are different. Our learners need to understand that even though two texts may have similar topics, they will have similarities and differences to compare and contrast for first grade.
Comparing and contrasting texts is important for 1st graders because it helps them improve comprehension by highlighting important details and helps to eliminate the confusion between similar concepts.
For comprehension in first grade, we’ve already talked about several ways to incorporate a better strategy for comprehension in your classroom. There are lots of great ideas to use to aid your students. You will find 15 great ideas with basic summaries of the ideas in my blog all about reading strategies for comprehension.
We’ve also taken a closer look at visualizing, making, and adjusting predictions, retelling stories, as well as how to teach the main idea and key details. These are all excellent strategies and if you haven’t read up on them, I encourage you to go back and check them out.
Three examples of activities for comparing and contrasting in your classroom:
When teaching a new skill to our young learners, it is always a good idea to get them physically involved instead of sitting at their desks. These ideas will get your students involved, keep them entertained, and best of all it will have them learning the skill of comparing and contrasting.
I know I said fun and exciting and a Venn Diagram seems pretty boring when you see the words. Now, imagine with me a life-size Venn Diagram that your students can interact with. That’s right, hula hoops make an excellent Venn Diagram.
Hand out 2-3 note cards or post-its to your students to write similarities and differences they found in the story. Encourage creativity in their ideas so that you don’t get a lot of the same ones. You can even make this an activity where they draw the similarities and differences they found. Lay the hula hoops out and invite your students to interact with the Venn Diagram placing their cards where they fit. You could also use post it notes for this idea. I have never met a kid that didn’t love to use a post it note!
Interactive Read Alouds
Use interactive read alouds to provide fun texts for your students to practice comparing and contrasting. Interactive read alouds have lots of elements for your students to look at the texts in a new way. Students will be listening, thinking, reading aloud, working together, and sharing throughout each lesson.
I have created an excellent resource for you to check out including interactive read alouds for every month of the year. Individual resources for each month are available as well as a bundle for the entire year in one package! Each interactive read-aloud is designed to engage first-grade learners while teaching them valuable reading comprehension skills.
Comparing & Contrasting Snowball Fight
Yep. A snowball fight in the classroom! This is how it works. Prepare pictures or words and post them around the classroom before the snowball fight, perhaps in each of the 4 corners of the classroom. One sign should relate to one text, the second sign would relate to the other text. The third and fourth signs would be observations that relate to both texts and neither text respectively.
Next, students get to write down their observations. I would recommend setting a time limit so your students don’t spend too much time making snowballs. Have your students crumple their paper into balls. Finally, let the snowball fight commence. After the snowball fight, send students out to pick up a few snowballs to read them aloud to see what ideas their classmates came up with.
There are lots of great ways to incorporate the skills to compare and contrast for first grade. It is so important for young students to get a great foundation in reading comprehension and this is just one skill to help get there.
If you’re looking for more, check out these ideas for reading strategies for comprehension. For great tools to get you started on your reading comprehension goals for your first graders, I hope you’ll look into this resource I created with you in mind.
These teaching resources help teach lots of reading skills for comprehension and I know you’ll find something useful.
Let me know what you’ve found especially helpful in your first-grade classroom and their goals toward better reading comprehension!
Want some free printables to help get you started teaching or reviewing this skill? Just click the picture below!