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Reintroduce: Cause and Effect

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Lesson Type: Reintroduce
Grade: 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given a text, students will be able to identify causes and effects in that text.

Materials: A fiction, non-fiction, or picture book for read-aloud, chart paper or board, copies of the Cause and Effect graphic organizer (print here) for each student

What to Do


Choose a book which appeals to early readers. Make copies of the Cause and Effect graphic organizer for each student. Make a large version of the Cause and Effect graphic organizer on the board or chart paper.


1. Review the meaning of cause and effect.

Who can remember what cause and effect means? Who can give an example of a situation with a clear cause and effect?

2. Record students’ answers on chart paper or board and clarify meaning.

That’s right. Cause and effect is a relationship. The effect is what happens and the cause explains why it happened.

3. Explain why finding causes and effects is useful to readers.

Good readers find causes and effects in books to help them understand the plot and characters better. Causes can help us understand why something in the plot happened or why a character acted a certain way. Cause and effect can help us understand non-fiction better too. It might give us the reasons why something important happened. It’s important to find causes and effects when we are reading.

4. Show the cover of the book.

Today we will be reading _________________________ by __________________. Without talking, think for a minute about what you think might happen in this book.

5. Direct students to the large copy of the Cause and Effect graphic organizer.

This graphic organizer has places for us to write down effects and their causes. We will write the effect in one box and the causes of that effect in the box at the beginning of the arrow.

6. Read the book, pausing at an effect.

I’m going to write down the effect here. Now, I’m going to think about what caused this to happen. What do you think caused this?

Call on students to answer.

I am going to write down the causes here.


7. Direct students to their copies of the Cause-Effect graphic organizer.

I am going to read the book and you will write down causes and effects. Remember to listen for words like because, so, if, then, and as a result to help you find the causes and effects.

8. Read the book, pausing to allow students to write down causes and effects on their graphic organizers.

9. Finish the book and have students finish completing the Cause-Effect graphic organizer.

10. Ask students to turn to a partner to share the causes and effects that they identified.

Now we will share with a partner. Turn to a partner and take turns telling your partner the causes and effects that you found in the book.

11. Hold a class discussion about how identifying causes and effects while reading helps comprehension.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to think about whether or not an event they identified has multiple causes. Students may not realize that it is possible to have more than one cause for a specific effect.

For Struggling Students:

Some students may struggle with identifying causes and effects. In this case, you may wish to provide students with either the cause or the effect, and ask them to find the other. This provides some scaffolding. Ask questions like:

What is an important event in this book? What makes it happen?

What is something that happens to the character? What makes it happen? Why does it happen?

What happens that makes something else happen?

For ELL Students:

Before reading the book, explain the meaning of any key vocabulary or concepts that they need in order to follow the book. Focus their attention on identifying the effects first, then going back to fill in the cause boxes.

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