Saturday, October 29, 2011

Compare and Contrast Text Structure: Cats vs. Dogs

This neat little book came free with my last Scholastic book order. Now that I have read it approximately 14,000 times to my first grade son, I have come to appreciate how it could be used to teach the text structure of compare and contrast.

As I've written before, it's tough to find entire compare and contrast texts in the real world. Usually authors will use this structure in a paragraph or two to highlight similarities and differences. But it's difficult to sustain over a long text.

This book, however, uses compare and contrast in a contest format. It works pretty well. Questions set up sections of text, such as "Who's got an ear for everything?" Then, the questions are answered in several paragraphs, which usually show the clustered style of compare and contrast. Compare and contrast cue words such as but, too, both, and also are used on just about every page. I didn't find any use of however, which was probably left out in an attempt to keep the reading level down. And it is a fairly easy read--not easy enough for my first grader to read alone, but definitely comfortable for the reader in grades 2-3. For teaching text structure, I like to introduce the structures with easier texts, so this would be just right for my struggling fourth grade readers.

Each section is boiled down to a winner for that section. The book's conclusion deals cleverly with the overall winner--it's a tie! (Not to my son, however--he decided that it's clear that the cat is the winner.)

All in all, this is a very economical book to obtain to teach compare and contrast text structure. I'm looking forward to trying it out this year!

More on compare and contrast text structure
Text Structure Picture Books: Owen and Mzee (blog post)

Text Structure: Compare and Contrast (blog post)

Compare and Contrast (blog post)

Compare and Contrast Texts ($3.00, 7 short articles with activities)

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