Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Main Idea: Compare/Contrast (Lesson 5)

1 Favorites

Lesson Objective

Some texts have a compare/contrast organization. Some focus on telling both how two things are the same and different. You can outline this organization in a Venn diagram.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 5:

Standard: Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: main idea and supporting examples (web), chronological order (chain), compare and contrast (T-chart), cause and effect (chain), problem/solution (T-chart).

Use text structure to identify the main idea and supporting details in articles. 


Big Idea:  Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.   


Teaching Point: Some texts have a compare/contrast organization.  Some focus on telling both how two things are the same and different.

You can outline this organization in a T-chart or Venn diagram.


Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of “Masters of Verse”, non-fiction articles

Note: "Masters of Verse" is from Appleseeds Magazine, March 2010


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • Readers, we are working on the six non-fiction text structures. We have been working on using a Venn diagram when the text uses a compare and contrast organization. 
  • Today, we are going to talk about another article that has a compare/contrast structure.  It is going to be your job to figure out what we should write on the circles, how we should outline it, and what the main idea of this article is.
  • Pass out “Masters of Verse.”  What should we do first?  [Read the title and then look at graphic features and read all the captions]  So what does it look like this article will be about?   Let’s read the introduction.  I can tell from the introduction that this article is going to be comparing two famous authors, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.  What should we label the circles?
  • So let’s read this article.  We’ll stop at the end of each section to think about what we should add to our outline. 
  • So what is the main idea?  [Both Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein faced obstacles but became famous through their fun style of poetry.]  Why did the author have to organize this as a compare/contrast text?  [because otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to make this point that while the two poets are not exactly the same, they faced some of the same events in their lives.]   
  • Scholars, I want you to turn to your partner and explain why authors use a compare/contrast structure. [T&T]
  • Now we are going to focus on answering today’s open response question [put up OR. Read OR.]
  • Scholars, sometimes a question has more than one part in it. If your open response is about one big idea, then your open response will only have one part. But if your open response is about many different ideas, then you may have to break your evidence up into different parts. For example, during your reading quiz, when you were reading “Bringing Back Salmon,” your open response had three different parts. Some of you only answered one or two of the parts, and that’s why your open response got a low score. Today we are going to pay close attention to the number of parts this question has. How many parts does this question have? [T&T, share out, decide that it has two parts: how Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are the same and how they are different.]  Nice job scholars – you noticed that when you are doing a compare/contrast open response, where you are talking about how two things are the same and different, you will usually have two parts: the similarities and the differences. Each part should have its own paragraph. So I know that there will be two paragraphs in my open response: one for how Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are the same and one for how they are different.
  • As we re-read this article, I want you to raise your hand if you find evidence that Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are the same or that Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are different. Then we will stop, highlight the evidence, and label it with the part that it belongs to. [Re-read article, stopping to discuss which evidence to highlight. Label each piece of evidence “S” for similar and “D” for different.” Then, as a class, write an open response that is organized around those two paragraphs. Show how each part/paragraph has its own clear, specific topic sentence (i.e. “Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are similar because they are both funny poets” and “Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss and different because the obstacles they faced were different.”]
  • Nice job, scholars! You are going to go off to read your own non-fiction texts today. As you read, I want you to pay attention to the structure of your text. If you notice that your text is a sequence or compare/contrast text, then I want you to make a chain or Venn diagram to help you find the main idea. You can turn it in to me when you are done.
  • Share: Share what you think the organizational structure of your book is.

Lesson Resources

Lesson 5 Non-Fiction Chart and Open Response.docx  


Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload