How to Compare Information in a Text: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Candice Case

Candice teaches 1st grade and has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Looking at how things are the same is called comparing. In this lesson, we will look at how to compare information within a text. We'll look at different ways that can help you to compare info and name some types of texts that can be great resources.

Comparing Information in a Text

Imagine you're in science class and are given an assignment to write about your favorite insect and how they compare to other insects. You choose beetles since you've often seen them in your yard. Since your knowledge of beetles is pretty limited, you need to use texts to find out more about them. Luckily, you find a book that says information about many different insects. Using strategies to make comparisons within a text will help you to learn more about these fascinating insects.

But first, what does it mean to compare? When you compare, you are finding what is similar between two or more things. Another way to look at it, is how things resemble each other, how they interact, or how they could be equal. Information in a text helps the reader find the similarities.

It's important to know that comparing goes hand in hand with contrasting. Where comparing shows us how things are the same, contrasting shows us how things are different. In our example, contrasting would tell us how beetles differ from other types of bugs.

One way to compare beetles to other insects could be to focus on one aspect of a beetle. Lets say you choose to focus on the outside of a beetle. A beetle has wings. What other insects have wings? By using a text, you will certainly find this information. How do we go about doing this?


Strategies and Examples

Strategies are a set of tools that a reader can use to help them find information. There are a few strategies that can help in comparing parts of a text.

One strategy in finding similarities is to look for keywords. In some texts, keywords can be in bold (darker) text, which make it easy for the reader to notice new vocabulary. When comparing in a text, look for keywords like 'both,' 'similar,' 'in the same way,' and 'likewise.'

The dung beetle and the shiny blue beetle ARE SIMILAR in that they have antennae to help them feel around their surroundings.

Another strategy is to ask questions.

Which beetles are garden helpers?
Which beetles are considered pests?
Does every type of beetle eat the same thing?

Coming up with your own questions can help you find comparisons in a text faster. You know exactly what information that you are looking for, and can look for those specific terms in the text.


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