Learning and Sharing

Cause and Effect in Reading Comprehension

on September 4, 2017

The world is full of causes and effects, so it is no surprise that literature and non-fiction writings contain cause and effect references.  Cause and effect is a literacy tool used to help students comprehend when actions and reactions occur. Identifying cause and effect relationships within a story helps students focus on two important elements of comprehension: what happens in the story and why it happened.

  • The cause is why or the reason something happened. It answers the question Why or How. Authors often identify the cause using signal words: Because… Since… Cause… Reason… So that… Unless… The main reason… Due to… For the simple reason that…
  • The effect is the result of what happened. It answers the questions: What happened? What was the result? Authors typically indicate the effect using these signal words: As a result of… If… Consequently… Effect… Therefore… Thus… So… Because of this… So that… For this reason…

Sometimes, before we can understand cause and effect in the stories we read, we must first understand cause and effect in our daily lives.




I find that I weave the Social Thinking® vocabulary throughout therapy and reading tutoring sessions. The concepts are applicable no matter what we are doing. “Think with your eyes and find the clues”.







One response to “Cause and Effect in Reading Comprehension

  1. mhkeiger says:

    Figuring out the why’s are always the hardest! Such an important skill to learn. Great way to weave in the Social Thinking concepts, too. I use the Social Behavior Mapping sometimes after one of my students has a real life oops moment to make the cause and effect visual. People will usually forgive you if you don’t keep making the same mistake over and over again.

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