In the grand scheme of first grade, one of the essential topics we must teach our students is reading comprehension. The foundation for reading comprehension starts with our youngsters who are just beginning to read. Just like in every other aspect of teaching, some students gravitate toward different methods of learning. There are many different ways to teach reading comprenehnsion, and teaching cause and effect activities are one of the main methods.
Which reading skill should I teach my first graders?
When it comes to young learners’ reading comprehension, teaching cause-effect relationships is just one way to demonstrate comprehension. Your students may grasp the concept of cause and effect easier than others, or perhaps not. In my article entitled Reading Strategies for Comprehension: 15 Strategies You Must Teach Students to Master, you will get exactly that. There are 15 strategies that will help your students improve their reading comprehension in a fun way.
Within the reading strategies article, I briefly outline those strategies, but if you’re looking for more details, I’ve got you covered. There are also articles for you to improve your students’ skills of retelling a story, using visualization skills, and understanding the main idea and key details. You will also find more information on making and adjusting predictions, identifying problems and solutions, as well as comparing and contrasting texts.
If you want already planned mini lessons to help you teach cause and effect along with 14 other comprehension strategies just click the picture.
What is Cause and Effect?
Cause and Effect is the idea that everything that happens is caused by something else. By looking at something specific that is happening in the text, students can identify what happened and why that particular thing happened. It is a great way to teach students to better understand what they are reading and improve their reading comprehension. Teaching cause and effect is made easier when we teach students that cause and effect exists within their own lives and happens every day.
Another great resource for understanding and teaching cause and effect is this reading skills bundle available in a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade version, as well as one that is adaptable for any grade. If you want to check it out, I also have a FREEBIE you can download to get a taste for the resource.
Examples to help in teaching cause and effect:
There are many ways to help students understand the relationship between cause and effect in a text and improve their reading comprehension skills. Here are three fun ways to incorporate teaching cause and effect in your classroom.
Use Interactive Read Alouds
Interactive Read Alouds allow your students to not only read a text, but to help build their reading comprehension skills along the way. I have created an Interactive Read Alouds resource for your classroom available by month or available as a yearly bundle of every month during the school year. If you want to see if this resource is for you, I also have a FREEBIE sample of this product for you to try out.
Act Out or Role Play
In this activity, your students get to be very involved in the learning. Break the class into groups of 2-3 and give each group a different scenario. Examples of scenarios might be playing baseball when a window breaks, falling off a bike and breaking an arm, running quickly to win a race, or something else you come up with. Your students will get to act out the scenario while the students not involved in that particular scenario will take turns discussing what the cause and effect in that situation might be.
Get together a few easy experiments to show your students tangible evidence of cause and effect in the real world. An experiment you may want to use could include blowing up a balloon to see what happens when too little or too much air is used.
Another good experiment for teaching cause and effect is putting vinegar and baking soda together to see an eruption of foam.
An easy one would be to float a small bowl in the water and slowly add pennies until the boat sinks.
Any experiment that definitively shows the relationship with cause and effect will work. Plus your students will have fun watching and getting to experience it hands on.
Click the picture to get this graphic organizer along with organizers and lessons for 14 other important comprehension skills.
Cause and Effect Paper Chain
One activity my kids really enjoy is creating a cause and effect paper chain. Put each student with a partner. The teacher writes a cause on the first strip and the first set of partners add a chain stating an effect that could go with that cause. They pass it to the next set of partners and they must as a new effect to go with the previous one.
Here is an example my class did to get you started. Each line was a new chain.
I forgot to set my alarm for school.
I did not have time to let the dog outside.
The dog used the bathroom on the rug.
Mom had to clean it up.
This made mom late for her job.
Her boss was not happy with her.
She had to work overtime.
She wasn’t home to cook dinner.
She was not in a great mood when she got home from work.
It is imperative that we set our students up for success when it comes to reading comprehension in early grades. Our students need to learn different skills to help make them well-rounded learners who grow in their reading comprehension skills. Teaching cause and effect relationships will help your students to better understand what they read.
Do you need free cause and effect printables to help you get started teaching this topic? Use these printables in small group, morning work or homework. You can download them by clicking on the picture below.