Similarities and Differences

Examples of Developmentally Appropriate Similarities and Differences

Basic 

Categories – body parts, beverages, colors, days of the week, drinks, food, numbers, relatives, shapes, toys, vegetables, etc.

Functions – things that can be climbed, closed, grow, used for eating, opened, play music, stick things together, tell time, used as tools, write, etc.

Parts – things with arms, bones, buttons, doors, eyes, hands, holes, glass, legs, lids, locks, numbers, pages, pockets, screens, tails, walls, water, wheels, whiskers, words, etc.

Descriptions/ Adjectives – things that are big, blue, fast, happy, healthy, heavy, long, loud, old, orange, quiet, round, scary, shiny, short, slow, smooth, strong, tall, wet, etc.

Later Developing

Categories – directions, beverages, hazards, insects, instruments, jobs, liquids, mammals, oceans, planets, punctuation, states, tools, transportation, seasons, vowels, etc.

Functions – things that are used as currency, entertain, help things grow, go in sentences, magnify, measure, medicine, protect, reflect, senses, shelter, slow, used as symbols, etc.

Parts – things with atmospheres, belts, branches, blades, borders, digestive systems, directions, engines, flavor, gears, handles, layers, lids, pipes, strings, stripes, switches, tone, tops, volume, etc.

Descriptions/ Adjectives – things that are alive, ancient, boring, crowded, dangerous, dry, easy, flexible, gray, healthy, important, impossible, rough, round, sour, straight, serious, valuable, etc.

Secondary -

Categories – adverbs, cities, constellations, cuisine, elements, energy, fasteners, habitats, languages, medicine, mammals, minerals, music types, religions, reptiles, etc.

Functions – things that advertise, help a democracy, communicate, conceal, consume, expand, explore, evolve, inflate, intersect, make laws, orbit, persuade, repeat, support, vibrate, etc.

Parts – things with advertisements, beliefs, causes, charts, circumferences, conclusions, judges, economies, fins, indexes, poles, protons, stems, transmitters, vice-presidents, etc.

Descriptions/ Adjectives – things that are common, damp, dull, exact, extinct, frequent, historic, hollow, medical, modern, parallel, political, productive, rapid, ripe, unnecessary, vacant, etc.

Basic Worksheets and Activities

Previews – Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity.

(1) (2)

Documents – Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1) Zig Zag – Basic Similarities Doc PDF;      (2) Overlapping Ovals – Basic Similarities Doc PDF

Later Developing Worksheets and Activities

Previews – Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity.

(1) (2) (3) (4)(5) (6)(7)(8)

Documents – Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1) Similarities Zig Zag Doc PDF;     (2) Overlapping Ovals Doc PDF;     (3) Overlapping Ovals 2 Doc PDF;     (4) Sentence Search 1 Doc PDF;     (5) Sentence Search 2 Doc PDF;     (6) Similarities and Differences Sentence Maze Doc;     (7) Basic Similarities Remember It Doc PDF;     (8) Later Developing Similarities Remember It  Doc PDF

Other Similarities and Differences Worksheets and Activities

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

(1) Miscellaneous Activities/ Functional Ideas Doc PDF;     (2) Ovals/Analogies  Doc PDF;      (3) Word List/Data Sheet  Doc PDF;     (4) Scripts/Drill  Doc PDF;     (5) Extra Practice Doc PDF

Similarities and Differences Background Information

The fundamental cognitive process of comparing ideas and objects greatly aids understanding, learning, and communication. The use of similarities and differences can serve as prerequisite and parallel skill for many other aspects of semantic knowledge. These include categories, examples, functions, attributes, parts, antonyms and synonyms.

The ability to group objects by means such as semantic similarities is a critical factor in learning words outside one’s direct experience (Borovsky and Elman, 2006). The research that supports direct instruction of similarities and differences is strong. Among the findings are that students benefit by having similarities and differences pointed out by a teacher in an explicit manner and that graphic organizers, such as Venn diagrams, comparison tables or charts, and hierarchical taxonomies, that help students construct their own comparisons, can significantly boost student achievement (Focus on Effectiveness, 2005).

A general knowledge of similarities and differences greatly overlaps with several skills common to assessments. These include metaphors, analogies, and comparing/contrasting. Teaching this relatively simple skill can greatly influence how well a child demonstrates understanding of concepts with previous familiarity. For example, a child may be able to state or identify that Canada and Mexico are countries, but be unable to answer the question “How are Canada and Mexico alike?”

One verbal comprehension core subtest of the WISC-4 tests similarities. Analogies have long been standard fare on tests such as the SAT (though controversially, not since 2005), ACT, and GRE. Tests used by SLPs with this skill include the CASL, EOWPVT, LPT, PLS-4, and TOLD-I.

Similarities and Differences Elicitation Ideas

Similarities and Differences Goal Suggestions

Cher will identify two functional words that are similar, when given a similarity and foils. For example, “Which two of these play music?”

Bono will label one similarity and/or one difference between two age appropriate words. For example, “How are a comma and a period alike?’

Madonna will label one similarity and one difference between two curriculum relevant vocabulary words. For example, “Tell me how thunder and lightning are alike, and how they’re different.”

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