Teaching Paired Passages Without Fear - Simply Skilled Teaching

Teaching Paired Passages Without Fear

teaching paired passages without fear

Fall is here, and for the kiddos in your classroom that means one thing only: Halloween! I was a teacher for 23 years; so I know the mixed bag of tricks and treats that holiday brings to the classroom. Who could forget the fun of seeing those adorable Halloween costumes? But I also recall the not-so-fun “aftermath” that arrived the next day in the form of tummy aches and sugar-highs! I survived and thrived, though; and, like you, I adopted the motto, “You can’t scare me; I’m a teacher.” You may not be scared, but you could be slightly intimidated at the prospect of teaching paired passages to the students in your class; but don’t sweat it. I’ve got you covered with resources to help teach this important skill.

It Takes Two When You’re Teaching Paired Passages!

Compare & contrast…identify the genre…describe the text structure…compare points of view of characters….EEEK!! If these skills sound a bit tricky to teach, hang in there. since we’re talking Halloween, I have a treat (a.k.a. FREEBIE!) for you at the end of this post. For now, let’s look at how teaching paired passages can help you fearlessly communicate important literacy concepts and reading strategies to the kiddos in your classroom.

Paired passages are simply two short text passages that feature similarities or connections. Presented together, they can help you teach certain analysis and comprehension skills that can only be taught effectively by using more than one text. A Close Reading lesson of an individual text is a great way to teach your students how to annotate, analyze and dig deeper into what they read. But paired passages are another essential means of helping them learn how to compare, contrast and make meaning from both fictional and non-fiction or informational texts.

What’s the Difference?

Paired passages may differ in genre yet deal with the same topic. (For example: my non-fiction Guided Reading text, All About Ants, paired with my fictional story, Ants and the Picnic). Both texts may be fictional or both informational, as long as there are elements that tie the two together, such as topic, theme or a similar issue or problem. Paired passages may even be cross-curricular, using a social studies, science or history text along with a fictional story that deals with the same topic.

Start With One at a Time When Teaching Paired Passages

To begin the lesson, explain to your students that you’ll be looking at both passages; then start by reading the first text and follow with a step-by-step, in-depth discussion. If it’s a fictional story, identify the main characters and discuss the setting, plot and problem / solution. Help students understand elements of the story structure and identify literary elements such as dialogue and point of view.

Next, do the same with the second passage. In the case of informational text, highlight text structure and text features that can help students navigate through the passage.

Finally, guide your students in an analysis of the two paired passages. Lead them in a discussion of both texts, and help them uncover connections as well as differences between the two. When teaching paired passages, provide clear explanations of terms that relate to the exercise, such as “compare/contrast,” “textual evidence” and “expository text.”

Your students will need plenty of opportunities to practice paired passage analysis; and I’ve got just the what you need to accomplish that! My Read-Its Fiction & Non-Fiction Paired Passages – Fall Edition.

This resource contains 18 passages on 9 various Fall topics to take you all the way through November. The best part is that these Trifolds fit beautifully into your INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS!

There are fiction and non-fiction passage trifolds for EACH topic; and there’s also a Compare and Contrast trifold where the students can compare/contrast the Paired Passages on the specific topic.

These Read-Its Paired Passages Trifolds are PERFECT to implement during Guided Reading groups, for Close Reading practice, for morning work, and/or for homework! They are RIGOROUS, FUN, and INTERACTIVE!

You’ll love teaching these paired passages, and your kiddos will love reading texts such as “Apples and Apple Orchards” paired with “Apple Picking With My Family” or “Thanksgiving Past and Present” paired with the fictional “Gobble the Turkey.” Best of all, the Fall Bundle includes a couple of fun Halloween-themed paired passages: “Halloween” and “Jack and Jackie, Pumpkin Friends.”

Check-out this fun Paired Passages FREEBIE: “The Basics of Camping” paired with “A True Story About Camping.” Enjoy!

Now for some news that’s so good, it’s scary! Meet Guided Readers…

introducing guided readers

Guided Readers is my brand new comprehensive online Guided Reading program that provides hundreds of leveled Guided Reading texts, rigorous lesson plans, and word work instruction, based on best practices in literacy instruction. All texts are professionally leveled by Fountas & Pinnell and Lexile.com. Best of all, the Digital Interactive Reader will also provide your students with oral comprehension, decoding, and fluency practice.

Guided Readers will give you access to amazing lesson plans along with professionally illustrated printable & digital books and instructional materials.

There are 3 affordable program plans for Guided Readers, and right now they’re at special introductory prices! Click here to get Guided Readers!

So there you have it, teacher peeps. All treats, no tricks! Happy teaching!


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Anna DiGilio


I'm Anna DiGilio

Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!



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Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!

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