CultureGrams—Teaching Activities: Comparing Interviews

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Comparing Interviews

Lamarana, age 11, Manjai Kunda, Gambia
Faces of the World Interviews, ProQuest CultureGrams


Comparing Interviews

Objective Students will learn about the process of interviewing and compare texts for similarities and differences.

Grade level 4–5

Common Core State Standards Initiative

  • Anchor Standards for Reading: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. (specifically Reading: Informational Text, Grade 5: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1)
  • Anchor Standards for Reading: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. (Specifically Reading Informational Text, Grade 4: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 and Reading: Informational Text, Grade 5: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9)

Time requirement

Preparation: 15 minutes

In-class: 2 hours


  • Handout with interview questions
  • Copy of the Gambian student interview below (Access the CultureGrams Interviews feature here.)


1. Distribute a handout to the class that contains the following 4 questions, with space to write below each of them:

  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What is your most valued possession?
  • What are you good at?

2. Discuss what it means to interview someone. Explain the importance of listening carefully, taking notes, and asking follow-up questions.
3. Split students into pairs and have them interview each other, writing down the responses on the distributed handout.
4. Hand out a copy of the interview below. (For the complete interview and dozens of others from around the world, access the CultureGrams Interviews feature.) Have the students read it and compare the answers to that of their classmate’s
5. Bring the class together for a discussion about similarities and differences they noticed between the two interviews.


Name: Lamarana
Age: 11
Gender: Female
Location: Manjai Kunda, Gambia

1) What is your favorite holiday? 
My favorite holiday is Tabaski, or Eid al-Adha. On this day, many families ritually slaughter a ram in ritual sacrifice. Coming from a poor family, we cannot afford to buy a ram, but my step-grandfather buys many kilos of meat for the family to cook. Also, neighbors who slaughter a ram give us portions of meat. The day is a countrywide barbecue day, and there are celebrations throughout the day. We all wake up early in the morning to do a general cleaning of the compound, bathe, wear our finest clothes (if possible, brand new), and go to the praying ground. After returning from the praying ground, the sacrifices are done, followed by a massive barbecue. In the afternoon, I go to visit my mom where she is staying with my stepfather and three little sisters.

2) What is your favorite food? 
My favorite food is haaku bantereh (plasas is the common Gambian name). It is a leaf stew cooked with chopped cassava leaves, beef, flaked smoked fish, hot chili peppers, peanut powder, and palm oil, and it is served with steamed rice. It is very rich in ingredients and healthy.

3) What is your most valued possession? 
My most valued possession is the sandals my mom bought me for school. My mom saved for a long time to get me those sandals, and I love them. They are strong and will last long. My friends also like them.

4) What are you good at?

I am good at caring for babies. I am only 11 years old, but I look after my siblings and my neighbor’s babies. I carry one of my neighbor’s babies on my back. I feed her and play with her until her mother returns from the market. I love babies.

Rachel Ligairi

Rachel Ligairi

I'm a CultureGrams editor who covers the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Rachel Ligairi

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