Identifying Cause-and-Effect Relationships: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Cause and Effect
  • 0:46 Identifying Cause and Effect
  • 1:45 Tools
  • 2:10 Examples
  • 3:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kristen McNeely

Kristen has taught elementary students for five years and has a master's degree in teaching.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to identify cause-and-effect relationships within a text. We'll take a close look at common words that are used to form these relationships and how they can help us better understand the text we are reading.

Cause and Effect

You may not realize it, but your day is full of causes and effects, such as wearing a jacket to school (effect) because it is cold outside (cause). Stories you read are also full of causes and effects. Understanding how to identify cause-and-effect relationships within the text you're reading can help you better understand the story or information.

In a cause-and-effect relationship, the cause is why something happens. For every event, there is always a reason behind it. The effect is what actually happened as a result of the cause. We can sometimes think of this as the consequence of an action.

Identifying Cause and Effect

Whether you're reading informational text or a fictional story, cause-and-effect relationships can be found in a variety of situations. As readers, we may need to find out what caused a disaster to occur or why a character feels a certain way; identifying the cause and the effect help us to do that. It is important to recognize these relationships because they can help readers draw conclusions and make inferences.

Clue Words

When you're looking for a specific cause-and-effect relationship within a text, there are certain words that authors often use to give readers clues:

Cause Clue Words Effect Clue Words
since so
because then
if therefore
due to as a result


Cause-and-effect graphic organizers can help readers analyze something that happens along with all the possible reasons why it happened. They can also show how the events in a story have an effect on one another. If you don't have an organizer handy, try using two different colored highlighters, one designated for only the causes and one for only the effects. Highlight as you read.


Let's take a look at some examples of cause-and-effect relationships. Remember to look for the clue words you learned earlier in this lesson.

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