Identifying similarities and differences among things or ideas is at the top of Robert Marzano’s list of “high-yield” classroom strategies across grade levels and content areas.

Compare and Contrast

In fact, Marzano and his colleagues found that teaching students to think comparatively led to an increase of 45 percentile points on performance assessments – higher than any other classroom strategy!

Using Compare and Contrast in the classroom helps students relate new information to what is already known, make abstract concepts more concrete, think more flexibly and metacognitively, and communicate more effectively (Compare & Contrast by Harvey H. Silver, ASCD)

Teaching students to find similarities and differences in stories or elements of stories can help them make those valuable text-to-text connections when they read.  There are many ways we can support comparative thinking in the literacy classroom by having students compare and contrast:

  • genres and text structures
  • different passages by the same author
  • topics or themes
  • plot structure
  • characters
  • literary techniques
  • fiction and nonfiction passages on the same theme
  • different variations of the same story
  • passages on the same theme with different writing styles/voices
  • passages on the same theme written for different audiences and/or purposes
Compare/Contrast Anchor Chart


Scroll down to find a collection of suggested pairings of HIP novels for comparing and contrasting.


Save time at the photocopier by teaching students to fold their own graphic organizers.

Sample Compare/Contrast G.O.

Click on the image to download a completed sample comparing SURVIVAL and OUR PLANE IS DOWN.

Click here to download a blank COMPARE AND CONTRAST CHART.

Sample Bubble Chart (Street Racer and Playing Chicken)

Click on the image to download a completed sample comparing the main characters in STREET RACER and PLAYING CHICKEN.

Click here to download a blank Double Bubble Graphic Organizer.


Wave & Overboard

OVERBOARD and WAVE are based on water disasters that the teen heroes – both male and female – must fight to survive.

Street Racer & Playing Chicken

STREET RACER and PLAYING CHICKEN both focus on young men in cars, reckless behavior and tragic results.

Scarface & Foul Shot

FOUL SHOT and SCARFACE both feature a sports theme and characters with Asian backgrounds, but the deeper message is in the way each character responds to his circumstances.

Survival & Our Plane

SURVIVAL and OUR PLANE IS DOWN are both about plane crashes in the bush.  Teen heroes must fight for their own survival – and save the others.

Student Narc & Hacker

High school kids do their part to catch criminals – drug dealers and computer hackers – in both HACKER and STUDENT NARC.

Street Scene and Turf War

STREET SCENE and TURF WAR both describe gang conflicts in the inner city.

Dark Ryder and Misty

Lovers of horse stories will appreciate the similarities and differences in these two tales of horse rescues – MISTY KNOWS and DARK RYDER.

Frozen & Caught in the Blizzard

FROZEN and CAUGHT IN THE BLIZZARD both feature teens lost in the Arctic.

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