Can you imagine peanutbutter without jelly or peas without carrots? Well, there are book titles that seem to come together in pairs too. These paired texts are perfect for making comparisons, and in this post, I thought I’d share a collection of titles I’d pair for making comparisons to help make your planning easier for these lessons.
INTRODUCING MAKING COMPARISONS:
TWith every skill lesson, the first step is to model. Starting with two concrete objects that students can work with and observe helps get them talking and thinking. For example, you might use lemons and oranges. Students can look at them, touch them, and smell them, but if you cut into them, they might observe additional features that are alike or different. You can use this analogy to talk about thinking more deeply about the books we read, and especially how we consider the characters and plot. On the surface, we may observe similarities and difference about how the characters look, but upon deeper reflection, we may think about more (character traits, how characters respond/react, and the intricacies of the plot).
As you discuss concrete items, sharing compare and contrast language is important. Challenge your students to use a different word as they compare and contrast the orange and the lemon. Recording their ideas also models how to get started with writing a compare/contrast paper too.
Comparing Similar Book by the Same Author
For this time of year, my favorite combo are The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett. In true Jan Brett form, both books include her beautiful borders which foreshadow events to come. Both stories take place in the winter and include repurposing articles of clothing, and they both include animals, a Jan Brett trademark too. The characters, Nikki and Lisa, are also quite similar in how they respond to the events of the story. Finally, you might explore the settings of the books too.
The units above include a variety of comprehension skills and activities for before, during, and after reading that can be used to further explore each book for different purposes including vocabulary and writing in response to reading in both digital using Google slides and PDF. You can click the images to learn more.
Comparing Versions of the Same Story
The next group of texts I’d pair are versions of the same fairy tale. There are so many versions that you will have no trouble finding a collection to use. If you can’t find those I have listed on the organizer, you can always insert a text box over a title I chose and add what you can find. There were at least 20 versions of Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs.
The versions of Cinderella I selected feature four different cultures including Native American, Chinese, Mexican, and African American. You might do a jigsaw lesson where you have groups read and disect each book’s characters, setting, problem, solution, and other differences. You might also share them as mentor text lessons.
- The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieska
- The Three Javalinas by Susan Lowell
- Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Schwartz, and
- The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas
Like the versions of Cinderella, you can have your students disect the book’s characters, setting, problem, solution, and other differences. You might also project these organizers on a smartboard and give your students sticky notes to record their ideas on and see what each of your groups observe.
Books Featuring the Same Main Character:
Another great option is to compare books with the same character. My favorite author of all time is Patricia Polacco. Why? Well, she was a struggling reader when she was young, and her story is an inspiration to all who have a hard time, and she’s shared her reading journey through a collection of books that chronical her experiences with teachers that inspired her and helped her overcome her challenges. There are five books that share her story, Thank You Mr. Falker, Junkyard Wonders, The Art of Mrs. Chew, Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece, and An A from Mrs. Keller.
Another book set with the same main characters are the Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola. I just love those books! Big Anthony is one character kids just love as he’s always running into trouble. I have a Strega Nona bundle in my shop that includes these five titles:
If you love Tomie dePaola, there is an author study in my shop with materials for twelve of his books including the Strega Nona books mentioned above, the two Jamie O’Rourke books, the Bill and Pete series, Little Grunt and the Big Egg, and The Art Lesson.
So, as you can see, there are LOTS of options with comparing across texts. You are sure to have titles you enjoy pairing too. In fact, as I’m closing this post, I thought of a few fiction and nonfiction texts I’ve paired.
- Owl Moon and Owls by Gail Gibbons
- Stellaluna and Bats by Gail Gibbons
- Verdi and National Geographic Snakes
There are many fictional books that include factual information about the animal characters. Making comparisons between fiction and nonfiction texts helps kids better understand the differences.
Making Comparisons Resource:
Have a wonderful winter break, and if you like, share titles you enjoy comparing in the comments!