Spotlight on Strategies

Compare and Contrast

Why compare and contrast?

Students who can effectively compare and contrast material will have a deeper understanding of concepts. Dr. Marzano, an educational leader, has compiled research that supports that having students identify similarities and differences between concepts directly correlates to student achievement. Through the use of graphic organizers such as story maps and Venn Diagrams students can organize their thinking. Second graders in Pennsylvania are asked to compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story written by either different authors or from different cultures. While doing this students will also demonstrate an understanding of key story elements, points of view, and central message of the stories. They display their understanding of these items through their comparison of two or more texts.

Second Grade Common Core Standards that are addressed:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.6 Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.9 Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

Example: Who is Cinderella?

To introduce comparing and contrasting two (or more) versions of the same story from different cultures either read or watch a read aloud of several version of Cinderella. Initially while watching or listening to a Cinderella story, students will fill out a story map. Next, students can use a Venn Diagram either on paper or an interactive one to note the similarities and differences between the Cinderella stories. Students should note story elements, point of view, and central message in their comparison. An extension to this reading skill would be to give students the opportunity to create their own version of a Cinderella story. Students showing understanding of comparing and contrasting would include some similarities and differences in their story compared to another version.


Using a different story such as The Three Little Pigs in what other ways can students show their understanding of comparing and contrasting the same story written from a different author or culture other than using a Venn Diagram? What digital tools would help to motivate students to show their understanding of this important skill? Also, how can students share their knowledge with an audience?

Need a hint? Click here to see other ways to demonstrate understanding of comparing and contrasting.

Citations and Credits


Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2012). Retrieved from

Palm Beach Schools. Marzaon's (Nine) High Yield Instructional Strategies. Retrieved from

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Story Map. Retrieved from

Read Write Think. (2014). Venn Diagram.Retrieved from

You Tube. Rough Face Girl. Video Retrieved from


Yen Shen. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

Cinderella. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

Adelita. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

True Story of the Three Little Pigs. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

Three Little Pigs. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from