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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Shared Reading for Comparing and Contrasting: Can You Tell What’s Same and Different?

The book that I use most often for example purposes is one about a trip to the zoo. (It’s actually called A Trip to the Zoo  ).  On the first day, I’ll do a “picture walk” through the book, see if the children can identify and of the pictures, see if they can tell me where the story takes place and what the boys see.  Can they name the animals?   What kinds of animals do you see at the zoo?  Will they see whales?  I may do a categorization activity the first day (pets, farm, wild, etc), with a before and after activity that capitalizes on that skill and those vocabulary words.  
Or I might start off with a describing activity.  We might describe someone in the room, or pick something with which everyone is familiar; preferably something visible.  The “After” activity will be about describing an animal (or animals) after the purpose has been set for listening to the words the author uses to describe the animals and looking at the illustrations.  I’ll use a graphic organizer to help make the describing visual, and focus on things like size and color and pattern, number of feet, type of “covering” (fur, scales, etc).

Then the next day, having worked with descriptions, I’ll move on to comparisons.  So now, I’m going to do the picture walk and point out - or have students identify - some similarities and differences between the animals. We might do a comparison between two children in the classroom.  Then I’ll set the purpose for them to listen again to the describing words and look at the illustrations and see if they can identify how some of the animals are similar and how they are different.  The “After” activity is - you got it - comparing and contrasting two animals.  I generally use the tiger and zebra.  That’s easy.  Again, use lots of visuals.  

And for aac users, make sure they can find the word in their aac systems.  (The simple Venn diagram image above uses Symbol Stix, familiar to most aac users in classrooms, and to many special ed students).  You can click and drag the image above to your desktop to use as an example for your students.
More on shared reading next week. Until then, keep reading!

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