Reading Cause and Effect Study Guide
Reading Cause and Effect
In this lesson, you'll see that because things happen in sequence, one thing often makes the next happen, and you can sometimes predict what'll happen next!
THINGS DON'T JUSThappen; living things and forces make them happen. Whatever or whoever makes something happen is the cause; what happens is the effect. For example, a singer hits a very high note and a glass shatters. Vibrating sound waves are the cause; broken glass is the effect.
As you read, look for clues to what makes things happen. Authors may use words to signal a cause-and-effect text structure. Words like because or since may indicate a cause, and so or therefore indicate an effect.
- I missed the bus because I overslept.
- I overslept, so I missed the bus.
In the examples above, the signal words point out that oversleeping was the cause and missing the bus was the effect. But sometimes there are no signal words. Readers must figure out the cause-and-effect relationship from the text.
- A car drove through a huge puddle and splashed water all over me!
In this example, tires splashing water are the cause; a wet person is the effect. A cause may have more than one effect and an effect more than one cause.
- I was late for school because I overslept and a car splashed water on me on my way to school, so I had to go back home and change clothes!
As you read, use a cause-and-effect chart to keep track of how things or people affect others.
Think about it. Couldn't you predict that, since it rained all day, that parade would be canceled, and if someone didn't study, he or she might fail an exam? Figuring out why something happened and thinking about what might possibly happen next gets you involved and helps you better understand what you read.
Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:
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