How To Write A Compare And Contrast Essay Elementary

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Sometimes teachers get stuck thinking that their students have to write a full blown compare and contrast essay (including all of the steps of the writing process) every time they write. Don’t get stuck thinking this way!

Students don’t have to write an entire essay every time you want them to practice comparing and contrasting within their writing – students can practice this skill just by writing a paragraph, or even a sentence!

As you begin incorporating this into your lessons, provide scaffolding through sentence starters or paragraph frames. This is especially beneficial for your ELL and low language students, but ALL of your students will benefit from this strategy.

Example Sentence Starters
1. _______________ and _______________ are different because _______________.

2. _______________ and _______________ are alike because _______________.

3. The most important difference between _______________ and _______________ is _______________.

4. An important similarity between _______________ and _______________ is _______________.

After students have been successful at writing sentences that compare and contrast, expand to short paragraphs. Provide similar scaffolding to help your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students be successful.

Example Paragraph Frames

1. _______________ and _______________ have many differences. The most important difference is ______________________________. Another difference is ______________________________. Finally, ______________________________.

2. _______________ and _______________ are similar in many ways. For example, _________________________. Furthermore, they both _________________________. A final similarity is _________________________.

This scaffolding not only provides students with a model for how to compare and contrast in their writing, but it also improves their own writing.

You might also find these ideas on integrating writing into text features, character traits, or point of view helpful.

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