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Compare and Contrast Worksheets: Free & Differentiated

Compare and contrast is one of my favorite reading skills to teach! With an apple and an orange, students can quickly get the gist of “comparing” and “contrasting.” It all seems very simple until you compare and contrast ideas, concepts, stories, etc. I use these differentiated compare-and-contrast worksheets to help my students learn the skill.

In this blog post, I am going to share the worksheets and some teaching ideas. As always, here is a freebie that you may find helpful!

compare and contrast worksheets

Compare and Contrast Worksheets with Pictures

Since we can’t bring everything to our classroom, I like to start with pictures. As you can see below, on each worksheet, I put two pictures of objects, a Venn Diagram, and two short response questions.

compare and contrast worksheet pictures 1

The Venn Diagram can help students visually organize the information to see the similarities and differences between the two objects. It provides scaffolding and helps you do differentiation.

For your more advanced learners, you can make the Venn Diagram optional and just let them answer the short response questions. Or you can make short response questions bonus questions for your struggling learners.

Compare and Contrast Worksheets with Sentences

After comparing and contrasting objects, students will have a much better understanding of the skill. Then they are ready to move on to sentences.

compare and contrast worksheet sentences 1

For example, this worksheet asks students to tell whether each sentence is comparing two things, contrasting two things, or both. To reinforce my student’s understanding of the two concepts, I also included the definitions at the top.

Besides, this activity can also help students get familiar with some keywords that people always use to compare and contrast things, such as “but”, “both”, “even though”, “however”, etc. This can help them understand more complicated reading materials later and write to compare and contrast.

Compare and Contrast Worksheets with Passages

When your students become good at sentences, you may challenge them with some passages. For instance, the passage below explains the similarities and differences between running and swimming. The directions ask students to close read the passage and color code the similarities and differences. Pictures are included to support comprehension.

For differentiation, I made three versions of the questions for each passage:

compare and contrast worksheet passages 1-1
compare and contrast worksheet passages 1-2
compare and contrast worksheet passages 1-3

The first one provides the most support (for your bottom group) as it has two multiple-choice questions and students can eliminate choices to find the correct answers. The second one has a Venn Diagram (for your middle group), which is a simple visual aid to help students quickly and effectively record the similarities and differences. The last one (for your top group) includes two short response questions. Therefore, students need to write everything on their own.

Compare and Contrast Worksheets with Longer Texts

I love the passages, but students don’t always get to read texts with obvious similarities and differences in the real world. As they move up their reading levels, they will read more and more complicated texts and they will have to compare and contrast characters, main ideas, problems, solutions, author’s messages, etc. between texts.

Thus, after this long text, I included various types of questions for students to practice the skill. For students who need more support, they can work on the multiple-choice questions first. These questions not only check students’ reading comprehension but specifically help students practice comparing and contrasting ideas from the text.

compare and contrast worksheet reading 1 questions
compare and contrast worksheet reading 1 questions

For further practice or to engage students who don’t really need the support, I have Venn Diagram and short response activities. For example, since “The Blog of Rosie” shows discussions among four characters, students can pick two of them and compare and contrast EVERYTHING they know about the two characters from the text (bottom left).

For the second long text reading, I prepared some short response questions (bottom right), so there is a variety of questions for students to thoroughly practice the skill.

compare and contrast worksheet reading 1 questions
compare and contrast worksheet reading 2 questions

Compare and Contrast Text Excerpts

In addition to these longer texts, I also selected some text excerpts from popular children’s literature for 2nd to 5th graders. The following worksheet shows how students are going to compare and contrast two purposefully selected text excerpts.

compare and contrast worksheet text excerpts

Compare and Contrast Worksheets with Writing

Moving from reading to writing is a challenging step for most of our students, but it’s necessary. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, “Create” is the highest level of learning. Therefore, I always like to include writing activities like the ones below after the reading practice.

compare and contrast worksheet writing

Different Uses of the Worksheets

If you are going to teach a compare and contrast lesson, you may use these worksheets for students’ independent practice after your mini-lesson. The same for guided reading groups.

Click here to purchase the matching PPT to use for your mini-lesson.

Need any ideas for homework? You may send these back home as homework. There is an answer key attached, so you can quickly check when students return them.

Additionally, this can be an independent work packet if you give students the answer key and let them check by themselves or their parents.

One more way to use these worksheets is using them as assessments. You may use all of the worksheets or just one of them as an assessment or exit ticket to see what students still need.

Don’t forget to click here to get this freebie to save you time!!!

To Sum Up

Teaching the skill of comparing and contrasting is very important and fun in elementary schools, but we have to differentiate the learning materials and provide different levels of scaffolding. The various activities I shared in these worksheets can help students learn and practice the skill.

If you would like to try the worksheets mentioned in this post, you can get a freebie here. If you want more but save your planning time at the same time, you can purchase related products below in my store.

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Happy teaching, 


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