The Benefits Of Comparing and Contrasting
Babies start out really early comparing things. For instance, very soon they know the difference between mom and dad and the rest of the people in their environment. They show this by what they do when Mom and Dad come into their view. They are already comparing. Comparing is an important learning tool. It helps us remember and it helps us learn new things. It leads to questioning and evaluating and maybe even creating something of your own.
We can encourage our kids to compare things just in our everyday interactions: Which is bigger? Which is heavier? Will you hand me the green one. Match the socks in the laundry. Etc. etc. etc.
We can also use books to talk about comparisons. Three of our Pelican Family Books work really well for comparing and contrasting with other books. One time when I was doing a book signing, a little boy was listening to me talk about Telly’s Story. Suddenly he said, “That’s like Are You My Mother,” which is a book about a bird that hatches from an egg and doesn’t see his mother right away and goes off in search of her. He was comparing! And he’s right. There are similarities between our story and P.D. Eastman’s famous book. And there are lots of differences. Comparing these two would a be a fun activity for anyone who wanted to give a child a comparing and contrasting opportunity.
The Pelican Family Counting Book counts pelicans (in a fun way, I might add). There are lots of different counting books. A trip to the local library would be a great outing to gather some of them and compare with our book. Three of my favorites are Anno’s Counting book by Mitsumasa Anno, Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss, and Over In the Meadow, and old rhyme illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. This activity of comparing could well lead to the child making his or her own counting book. Creating something of your own after observing, comparing and analyzing is way up there on the higher level thinking scale.
Delly and The Beach Town Healthy Alphabet Challenge has many layers. It is an alphabet book. For the very young child looking at pictures of fruits and vegetables, maybe identifying colors or a little later matching letters to fruits and vegetables would be fun.
It talks about healthy foods to eat. Children can identify different fruits and veggies, maybe even take on the challenge to make up a booklet to keep track of fruits and veggies eaten. (This is suggested in the back of the book. Click here to get a cover to make for your own Challenge Book.)
It is a prompt for talking about food chains with the information in the back about ocean and shore animals and what they might eat.
For a comparison activity use it as an alphabet book to compare to some of the many alphabet books available, like Dr. Seuss’ ABC Book or P.D. Eastman’s The Alphabet Book.
Helping your child learn to compare and contrast will serve him/her well throughout life.
Listed below are a couple of resources if you are interested in reading more about this topic.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Why Compare & Contrast
Reading Innovations: Compare & Contrast