Background: A cause-effect frame gives students a template to identify what happened and why it happened. It helps students graphically organize causal relationships. These frames provide a visual reference tool to aid students’ comprehension. To find the effect, readers ask, “What happened?” To find the causes, readers ask “Why did this happen?” Cause-Effect Charts frame these questions with connecting arrows to help students think about the relationship between the two events.
Procedures: Create a chart where students list and describe events revealed in reading selections. From each event, draw an arrow to a section in which students list and describe possible causes for the event.
Variations: Have students use the cause/effect chart to analyze data. Pose “What if...?” questions to encourage students to explore the cause/effect relationship. For example: “What if alternate forms of energy were utilized by greater populations of people? How would this affect our chart of data? How would the chart’s information change?
Reading Strategies: Recognize Cause and Effect Relationships, Draw Conclusions, Summarize Main Ideas and Details, Synthesize Information, Make Generalizations