Lesson Ideas for Teaching Cause & Effect

Here’s a common scenario: You have a class full of many fluent readers. Their accuracy is strong. But, they struggle with comprehension. Whether it’s oral retelling or a written response, we need to engage students with using comprehension strategies in a variety of ways so they can apply skills which help with understanding what they read.

Let’s talk about:

One way to engage students right off the bat is to let student answer questions about you! I always find that 2nd graders enjoy any opportunity to learn more about you and make guesses about your life (or really anything to do with you) I mean, have you ever asked a class of students to guess how old you are? #instantengagement You will get a TON of responses anywhere from 15-75. And that’s what we want! Participation=Engagement
Which is why I love all things Amy Groesbeck. Not only are her anchor charts to die for, she is personable and isn’t afraid to be silly with her students. Start with silly. The anchor chart below does everything right: explains the concept, creates a visual, and includes student input (in a fun way). 
She has awesome Reading Comprehension Skills and Strategies posters here
Another fantastic attention getter is using a short video. Pixar shorts are the perfect length for getting the point across in an efficient fashion!
For the Birds is a perfect discussion starter actions and outcomes. Here’s a freebie you can use along with the video:
Build to serious. Now it’s time to apply that learning to text. I have three book suggestions that vary in level. I have paired each one with a different graphic organizer for easy differentiation.
 The first one is ADORABLE and funny! This first book is by Oliver Jeffers. He wrote The Day the Crayons Quit. #fanfavorite It’s called Stuck and I was forreal laughing out loud when I first read it. 
This book makes for a great into lesson for younger learners (1st-2nd) because its simple, easy to understand and includes a long chain of events. I paired it with an equally simple graphic organizer where students identify one cause and one effect. I love the visual of this organizer as it’s a real world example of cause/effect making it easy for students to remember the concept. 
Next is a book by Caroline Starr Rose, beautifully illustrated by Ron Dunlavey, called Over in the Wetlands. This would be appropriate for later in 2nd grade or 3rd grade due to the advanced vocabulary and descriptive language. It is perfect for teaching that ONE event can cause MANY other things to happen.
If you are interested in these graphic organizers, you can find them here.
Finally, the last book I am sharing is Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. Many are familiar with the movie (and now the newer movie which I have not seen). The book has many similarities and differences so it would be great for comparing/contrasting as well. Since it is pretty lengthy for a read aloud, I would  break it down into a few lessons. I would recommend it for late 2nd-4th grade.
It’s so important for our students to engage with academic vocabulary so they can not only recognize the skill in context but also be able to include signal words in their writing. 
If you are looking for additional resources for teaching cause & effect, click the picture below for more graphic organizers, anchor charts and lesson plan.
Happy teaching!
If you would like to read more blog posts like this one, click here. You can also download the Comprehension Kits guide including suggested mentor texts and link to blog posts by clicking here or on the images below.

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