The Donkey and the Dog

Grade Levels: 3 - 5


Students will:
  • understand that to compare is to recognize how things are alike and to contrast is to recognize how they are different.
  • use story details to make both parallels and distinctions between characters in a fable.
  • understand that authors sometimes use key words to compare and contrast things.



  1. Introduce key vocabulary: amusing, awkward, dainty, hooves, ridiculous. Ask students to complete the Vocabulary Worksheet.
  2. Ask a student to describe a donkey. Challenge the class to brainstorm all of the ways a donkey is like a mouse and all the ways they are different.
  3. Have them write their answers under headings "Alike" and "Different." Write COMPARE beside "Alike" and CONTRAST beside "Different."
  4. Tell students:
    • To compare is to tell how things are alike.
    • To contrast is to tell how things are different.
    • Comparing and contrasting can help readers understand the characters of a story better.
  5. Remind students that sometimes key words help compare and contrast.
    • To compare: like, as, same, alike
    • To contrast: different, not, but, unlike
  6. Distribute the Compare and Contrast Diagram and the fable The Donkey and the Dog.
  7. Instruct students to read the fable and then use story details to fill out the chart, comparing and contrasting the donkey and the dog and what happens to them. Challenge them to find the key words (just as, yet).
  8. Discuss the important ways in which the two animals are alike and different and how comparing and contrasting helps us understand the fable.


  1. Have students list key words for comparing and contrasting.
  2. Students should be able to:
    • define compare and contrast.
    • fill in a Venn diagram with three or more items in each category.
    • identify key words in a story or article.

Extension Activities

  • Have students choose two more fables by Aesop to compare and contrast in small groups.
  • Challenge students to compare and contrast two dog breeds and write their findings on the Compare and Contrast Diagram.
  • Have students write in their notebooks about two pets they know, emphasizing how they are alike and different.


  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions of human experience.
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, and identification strategies.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to communicate knowledge.

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