Cause and Effect can be difficult, but not with this mentor text. Teaching with picture books is a great way to help students understand so many comprehension skills.
Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers, is the perfect read-aloud for teaching cause and effect. Why? Because one thing leads to another in this ridiculous tale.
Thank you Cathy for inviting me to be a guest author on your website. I’m Teresa from Amazing Literacy. Be sure to check out Cathy Collier’s (The W.I.S.E Owl) post for more mentor texts for teaching cause and effect. You might also like her post for teaching sequencing with Before She Was Harriet, a Coretta Scott King Honor and Christopher Award-winning picture book.
Now, let’s take a look at what this book is about.
What is this book about?
🪁 🌳 It all began when Floyd’s kite got stuck in a tree. When he couldn’t get it unstuck, he decided the best thing to do was to throw his shoe at it.
But wouldn’t you know it, the shoe got stuck too. Now, the only logical thing to do is…throw his other shoe. Only now both shoes are stuck in the tree!
Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. How about a cat, a ladder, or a bucket of paint? And that was not the end of it.
Will Floyd EVER get his kite out of the tree?
why teach cause and effect?
Teaching cause and effect helps kids think smart. When we show students how actions lead to results, we’re helping them become awesome problem-solvers. Understanding cause and effect isn’t just about events; it’s about teaching kids to connect the dots in life. This skill makes them ready for anything and sets them up to be smart thinkers in the future.
ways to teach cause and effect
Make a game of real-life causes and effects.
Make up some scenarios and possible effects to discuss with your students.
✔️ If you stay up late at night, you are tired and grumpy the next day. Cause: I stayed up too late. Effect: I was tired the next day.
✔️ Mom always says, “If you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll get cavities.” What might cause you to have cavities? Forgetting to brush your teeth.
✔️ Sarah lost her pencil. What could be an effect of having no pencil? (She couldn’t do her work, or she had to borrow one from a friend).
✔️ Mom made some chocolate chip cookies today. She left them in the oven too long. The cookies were black. What is the result of mom leaving the cookies in the oven too long? The cookies were burnt.
Have your class brainstorm other real-life cause and effect scenarios.
Many causes and many effects
Your students need to understand that in the cause and effect relationship, there could be more than one result of something happening.
There could be many effects of falling off a slide. For example:
- You could break a bone
- You could get dirty
- You could fall on another person
There could be many causes for someone to fall off a slide. For example:
- The slide could have been wet and slippery
- You could have had your legs hanging over the side
- Maybe you forgot to hold on
A chain of events is when one effect becomes the cause of the next, and so on. Here’s an example:
- I got gum in my hair, so Grandma had to cut it out. My hair looked crazy, so I wore a hat to school. Timmy grabbed my hat and ran away with it. Everybody laughed when they saw my hair.
Chain of event stories, or circle stories are always a hit with students. They love to predict what will happen next. It’s fun when a student says, “Why didn’t he just…” This leads to a discussion of good and bad choices.
In stories like Stuck, students can see how events are connected and how one event can lead to another. Sometimes results are good and sometimes they are not.
How to teach cause and effect with stuck
When teaching cause and effect, start with “What happened?” Then ask, “Why did it happen?”
Have them start their answer with “Because…” This helps them understand that the first thing that happens is the cause.
❓ Why did Floyd throw his shoe into the tree? Because he wanted to get his kite unstuck.
Everything Floyd threw into the tree was to get the previous item unstuck.
This story is a chain of events, a chain of bad choices that is, that lead to talking about the essential skill of problem solving.
❓ When Floyd fetched the ladder, he threw it into the tree.
Was this a good choice?
Were you surprised when he threw it into the tree?
What could he have done with it?
You can dig a little deeper by reviewing the chain of events:
❓ Why did Floyd throw a cat into the tree?
❓ Why did he throw a ladder into the tree?
❓ Why did he throw a bucket of paint? And so on, and so on!
Click HERE to grab a copy of a cut and glue cause and effect activity for Stuck. Your students will love decoding a word from the story after all causes and effects have been matched.
If you like this freebie, take a look at more activities for this book in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.
In these escape-game-style activities, your students will:
- Learn Tier 2 vocabulary
- Read a nonfiction passage about flying kites and answer 5 questions
- Summarize the story
- Put words from the story in ABC order
- Choose correct punctuation
- Answer questions from the story
Students discover a mystery word after each challenge. The mystery words lead to a code word. If they get the code word right, they are given the answer to a joke: Why did the kite go to school?
Memoirs of a Goldfish is another great mentor text for teaching cause and effect.
It is about a goldfish’s life in a fishbowl. The goldfish goes from enjoying solitude to sharing its space with other fish, each with their own personality. The story humorously shows how the goldfish adapts to the changes and explores themes of friendship and embracing diversity.
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