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Compare and Contrast Ideas

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20 Best-practices
Reading Strategies
Authors often connect unknown ideas with known concepts to help readers learn about a topic. Compare/contrast instruction includes identifying author’s use of comparisons and a reader’s ability to make comparisons.

Simile: A simile is a comparison of two unlike things that are alike in one way; a simile uses like or as or a comparative adjective and than. Examples: Butterflies are like flower petals with wings. Migration is like a journey. Caribou feet are like snowshoes.
Metaphor: A metaphor is an implied comparison between two unlike things. A metaphor does not use a clue word. Examples: Butterflies are flower petals with wings. Migration is a journey.
Analogy: An analogy is also a comparison of two or more objects. The analogy implies that the objects are alike in some ways. Examples: An orchestra of robins welcomed the sunrise. Birds soar through highways in the sky.

Questions that help students compare and contrast:

  • What does this selection remind you of?
  • What does (idea from selection) remind you of?
  • What comparisons did the author use to describe ideas?
  • What similes or metaphors did the author use to describe ideas in the selection?
  • What analogies were used to help readers connect ideas?
  • What are the similarities described? What are the differences described?
  • How did the author help readers learn new ideas?
  • Why did the author How are they alike? How are they different?
  • Writers often connect new ideas with something a reader may already know. What examples from the selection show this writing strategy?


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