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Recognize Cause and Effect Relationships

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Effect is defined as “what happened.” Cause is defined as “why something happened.” Clue words such as, because, so, consequently, therefore, thus, and since signal causal relationships. To find an effect, readers ask, “What happened?” To find cause, readers ask “Why did this happen?” Informational articles are ideal selections for teaching cause/effect relationships because they provide explanations for readers that include reasons for various phenomenon.

Questions that help students explore cause and effect relationships:

  • What events does the author describe in the selection?
  • What causes are given for the events described in the selection?
  • Which words and phrases did the author use to signal cause/effect relationships? (because, since, thus, so that, if...then, therefore, nevertheless, this led to, as a result of,, for this reason, on account of, due to..., consequently)


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