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.
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!
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
- 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