Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cause and Effect: anchor chart, mentor texts, and a freebie!

Cause and effect can be such a difficult concept for young readers. I think this is true for a few reasons.
1. Kids can be egocentric. They often respond with what they think the effect would be for them.
2. Evaluating cause and effect takes some real thinking! You have to analyze text in some complex ways.
Therefore, kids who can often answer literal who, what, when, and where questions may struggle when comprehension requires more thinking like determining cause and effect.

So, what's a teacher to do? I think modeling and interactive activities can certainly help.

Here is an anchor chart that I made. Using characters from a series helps students really have a good feel for how the characters react in different situations. On the chart, the characters are sharing an experience or a cause, but due to their character traits the effects will different for each of  them. This one features Junie B. Jones, Crybaby William, and Lucille.

Mentor texts are another wonderful teaching tool. Here are a few of my all time faves!

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash is a wonderful example of  tracing the effects back to their causes.
The entire If You Give series is perfect for If/Then cause and effect statement modeling!

This book is an awesome example of multiple causes leading to one effect: a terrible, horrible, no good,
very bad day!

My kiddos always loved being surprised by the unexpected chain of causes and effects in this book!
In this sweet story, the animals find out that the farmer has bought a kangaroo. They spend the rest of the day pondering the possible effects of the farmer's new purchase.

This story does a wonderful job of demonstrating a circular chain of cause and effect. Murdley Gurdson gets an egg dropped on his head. How could it possibly be his fault? Kids love tracing the action back to him.

You may be interested in my latest product on Cause and Effect. It has anchor charts/presentation, a center, guiding activities, and reading comprehension activities. You can check it out by clicking here! Scroll down to grab a FREE copy of a sample page from this unit!

Here's your Freebie!  The clip art is by the talented Kari Bolt. Click here to download your copy! Enjoy!

What have you found helpful when teaching cause and effect? I would love to hear your ideas!

Tessa @ Tales from Outside the Classroom is having a fun anchor chart linky. Check it out {HERE}!


  1. Hello! Our first grade team uses Laura Numeroff's IF YOU GIVE... book series to teach cause and effect, and I like to use FAIRY TALES to teach "for every action or cause there is a reaction or effect!" I found a new "fractured fairy tale" series in my last Scholastic book order that is great fun! Here is an Amazon link to the Cinderella story!

    Also, I nominated you for a Liebster Award today! Congrats! It honors bloggers who have small but steady followings of less than 200 readers. Check out my post today at for more details!

    Warm Regards,
    ~Jennifer Reynolds

    1. Thank you so much for the nomination! I am completely flattered!
      I LOVE your fairy tale suggestion for cause and effect! Thanks for sharing the book suggestion! I am off to check out your blog!

  2. Thanks so much for linking up! Your anchor chart looks amazing! Great job!

    Tales from Outside the Classroom

    1. Aww, thanks, Tessa! I enjoyed your linky party!