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Cause and Effect - Grade 4

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Cause and Effect - Grade 4

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"Cause" is the reason why something happened like it did. "Effect" is what happened as a result of the cause. Students often confuse these two because the articles they have read blur the distinction between them. To teach this benchmark, download these articles and stories that have been selected mainly because they contain a clear difference between cause and effect. In literature, cause and effect are revealed in the plot of the story. In nonfiction, cause and effect is a text structure. In nonfiction, students are expected to recognize if the author has chosen this structure to make his point. Please see below for a selection of Leveled Lessons for Below Level (basic), and/or On Level (median), and/or Above Level (competent) readers.
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Teaching Tips

One way to help students understand what we mean by "cause and effect" is to switch the terms around to "effect and cause." For example, if we say to the child, "Your bicycle has been stolen." This is an EFFECT resulting from certain actions. Students can usually give possible reasons that could have CAUSED this event: The bike was left out overnight; the bike was not locked up; the bike was loaned to an untrustworthy person. Help students clarify the differences between cause and effect by giving them these other scenarios: You got all As on your report card. (This is an effect; what is the cause?) You broke your arm when you fell out of a tree. (This is an effect; what was the cause?) You forgot your lunch money. (This is the cause of what possible effect?) You brought cupcakes for your birthday. (This is a cause of what possible effect? Cause and effect is also a "text structure" in nonfiction text. Help students look for key words that signal to the reader that a cause and effect format has been used. If they see these key words, they should realize that the author is giving both the causes and effects of an event. Key words: therefore, so, this led to, as a result, because, if. . . then.