Targeting and Understanding Comparing and Contrasting

Hey speech friend! 👋🏼
Do you ever wonder about some of the goals we address as speech language pathologists? 
While we may know the building blocks of how to work up to larger goals (like generalizing that tricky /r/ sound), sometimes the underlying cognitive skills that we are working on for language goals may be completely lost to us!  
Often, we “inherit” goals based off of child's low scores in a certain area, but we all know we can't just work on all language goals without addressing the foundational skills they may lack! 
Comparing and Contrasting is one of those goals. It's a foundational skill for later-emerging cognitive processes that enable kids to be successful in their executive functioning. However, it's often treated as a silly goal that has no real-life applicability. Read on to learn more and how we can address this in our sessions! 

Breaking down comparing and contrasting! 

The Definition 
Comparing and contrasting involves identifying similarities and differences between two or more subjects, objects, ideas, or concepts.
Comparing: This involves examining the qualities, characteristics, or features that two or more things have in common. When comparing, you focus on shared attributes or aspects to highlight similarities.
Contrasting: On the other hand, contrasting involves identifying the differences or dissimilarities between two or more things. 
Why It's Important
Comparing and contrasting requires analyzing information, identifying similarities and differences, and making connections. This promotes critical thinking skills, which are crucial for problem-solving, decision-making, and evaluating arguments or perspectives. These skills are essential to academic and social settings but cannot be adequately learned if a child is unable to compare and contrast. 
How to Work on It
Working on comparing and contrasting skills involves practicing activities that encourage individuals to identify similarities and differences between different subjects, objects, ideas, or concepts. Here's how you can work on these skills:
  • Provide visual aids: Use charts, Venn diagrams, or graphic organizers to visually represent similarities and differences between two or more subjects. This provides a structured framework for comparing and contrasting and helps learners organize their thoughts.
  • Start with concrete examples: Begin by comparing and contrasting concrete objects or images that are familiar to the learner. Concrete examples make it easier for learners to grasp the concept before moving on to more abstract ideas.
  • Use texts or passages: Select reading passages or texts that lend themselves well to comparison and contrast. Have learners read the texts and identify similarities and differences between characters, events, themes, or settings.


Looking for a fun resource that targets compare and contrast? 

Grab my Compare & Contrast Interactive Activity Unit now to make it easy!

I hope this post helps you better understand comparing/contrasting! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions on how to target this concept.

Happy speeching!


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