Cause and Effect Mapping Using Newsela with Secondary Students

Identifying events and actions and their outcomes strengthens students' textual analysis skills
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Cause and Effect Explanation

About This Strategy

Cause and Effect mapping helps students identify and support their understanding of causal relationships and sequence them. This strategy first supports students to identify and become more familiar with the concept of cause and effect, and then students practice mapping several cause and effect relationships while reading a Newsela article. Through this strategy, students will also begin to understand that causes can have multiple effects. Teachers can also check students' mastery of the concept of Cause and Effect as the students engage in the task.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Select an appropriate Newsela text that has several causes and effects throughout the article.

  2. Brainstorm ideas of causes and effects in one's life. See the Example Cause and Effect Scenarios resource below to help guide the discussion of the concept.

Student Preparation:

  1. Distribute the Cause and Effect Chart (resource included below) to students.

  2. Familiarize students with the concepts of cause and effect. Have them identify examples of cause and effects in their own lives. Then have them look over the worksheet that accompanies the article. Explain to students that sometimes a "Cause" can have multiple "Effects" and that on their worksheet they might have the same "Cause" multiple times, just with different "Effects"

  3. Remind students to annotate the text to identify causes and effects in the article if they have Newsela PRO. If they do not have Newsela PRO, print the articles and have students highlight causes and effects in the article. Also, remind students to take the quiz after the article to check for comprehension.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Choose either to assign the Newsela article or Text Set. When you create the assignment, you can decide whether to provide it at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student or adjust the reading level to a particular grade for all students. Or choose to assign the Newsela article or Text Set at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student.

  2. Ask students to:

    • identify and highlight Causes and Effects in the article by either highlighting with Newsela Pro on their device, or with highlighters on their physical print out.

    • complete the Quiz

    • Optional: Students could answer the Writing Prompt analyzing the different cause and effects or the driving question for the activity.  

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students transfer their cause and effects that they annotated in the article into the organizer provided.

  2. The organizer provides a quick check for teachers that offers students three attempts to correctly show they are understanding the concept of cause and effect.

  3. Extension Options:

    • Have students pair with another student and discuss the cause and effects they identified in the article.

    • Have students respond to a customized Write Prompt (for PRO users) or a journal prompt (for non-PRO users) analyzing at least one of the cause and effects they identified specifically for how the cause and effect impacts the author's argument/claim or main idea.

    • Conference individually with students to assess their comprehension of the concept of cause and effect.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Text Structure - Cause & Effect

  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: History, Science, ELA

Cause and Effect

  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: History, Science, ELA, Health

Climate Chaos

  • Grade Level: 3-12
  • Content Area: History, ELA