The cause and effect relationship is a common structure in written text. Being able to recognize this structure will help your child with reading comprehension.

What you’ll need

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

Here’s how to do it

Discuss with your child what the cause and effect relationship is (the cause is an event or action that makes something happen. The effect is the result of that action.) Explain that the cause always happens first and there may be more than one effect. Explain that many times signal words and phrases are used to show the cause and effect relationship. A sampling of these words are: such as, because, so, so that, consequently, thus, since, for, the reason for, as a result, therefore, due to, due to the fact, this is how, nevertheless and accordingly. Write these words down to refer to later.

Give an example of a cause and effect from your life such as, I was hungry so I ate an apple. Point out that the cause is I was hungry and the effect is I ate an apple. With your child, come up with more everyday examples of cause and effect. Try to use some of the signal words you wrote down.

Play a cause and effect game. Have one person come up with a cause and the other person complete the sentence with an effect. Switch these roles back and forth. You can get other friends and family members involved and take turns going around in a circle or coming up with multiple effects for one cause. This could also be played in the car or at the dinner table.