A highly effective way to teach cause and effect to elementary students is to read aloud a picture book that lends itself to teaching this reading strategy. Reading aloud a picture book facilitates a learning experience where you can model how to use cause and effect to better understand the text and engage students in their learning by asking related questions. Below is a list of 10 picture books for teaching cause and effect. Check out the full list, as well as the teaching resources that go with them!
10 Cause and Effect Picture Books
Below are 10 picture books that are great for teaching cause and effect.
1. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Camilla worries a lot about what people think of her. This is why she won’t eat her favorite food, lima beans. Camilla is horrified when she is picking out her first day of school outfit, and develops stripes all over her body. By the end, when Camilla eats the beans, her stripes go away! This story lends itself to teaching about cause and effect because students can think about how the stripes were caused, and how they eventually went away. Check out these A Bad Case of Stripes activities!
2. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
All animals have their own color, except chameleons. He meets an older chameleon and asks if they will ever have a color of their own. The older chameleon suggests that the two stay together forever. Although they will change color, they will always be the same color as each other. This causes the chameleons to live a much happier life. This story highlights the reading strategy of cause and effect by having the chameleon change colors each time he is surrounded by another animal or color. Check out these A Color of His Own activities!
3. Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
Rodney Rat has a problem, he can’t pronounce the letter /r/ very well. When he tries to say his name, it comes out like WODNEY WAT. His classmates tease him, making Rodney the shyest student in his class. After he outsmarts the class villain, Rodney is now a hero among his classmates and they never tease him again! This story lends itself to teaching about cause and effect as there are clear problems and solutions in the text! Check out these Hooway for Wodney Wat activities!
4. Ish by Peter H. Renyolds
Ramon had always loved drawing. He would draw pictures of anything, anywhere. Then one day, his brother laughed at his picture of a vase. Throughout the story, Ramon learns that things do not have to be perfect and he can still enjoy activities like writing and drawing. What was the effect of Ramon’s brother making fun of his drawing? Who caused Ramon to take a second look at his illustrations? Read this story to discover the power of cause and effect. Check out these Ish activities!
5. It Fell from the Sky by Terry and Eric Fan
It was a Thursday when something magical fell from the sky and landed in the garden. Critters from all over came to view as they have never seen such a thing! Oddly enough, Spider happened to make a web right where it fell. Claiming the item as his own, Spider learns a lesson in sharing and community. This story lends itself to cause and effect as there are clear plot steps and effects from Spider’s decisions. Check out these It Fell from the Sky activities!
6. Neck and Neck by Elise Parsley
Leopold the giraffe is a popular attraction at the zoo. One day, Leopold finds he has some competition at the zoo, a giraffe balloon! Leopold quickly learns the importance of compassion, kindness, and friendship as he helps the boy who gave him such grief. In this text, Leopold must make decisions to help others, creating effects that will change the outcome of the story. Check out these Neck and Neck activities!
7. On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex
In this book, a boy got gum stuck in his hair and it caused many other problems. There are so many people each with their own idea that the boy is overwhelmed. He shouts and asks everyone to get out. That’s when the wad of gum hops out of the boy’s hair and walks away. He finally found the solution, although the gum thought the boy was rude. This book is sure to keep students laughing as the boy faces problem after problem caused by the gum, leading to a great mentor text for teaching cause and effect. Check out these On Account of the Gum activities!
8. Ruby Finds A Worry by Tom Percival
Ruby was an ordinary, happy girl until one day she found a worry. It started out very small, but grew bigger and bigger over time. Through meeting a new friend, Ruby learns that she may get a worry from time to time, but she now knows how to take care of it: by talking to someone! This story includes the clear effect of the worry changing shape, which makes it a perfect mentor resource to teach the skill of knowing cause and effect. Check out these Ruby Finds a Worry activities!
9. Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan, Roslyn M. Jordan, et al.
The book tells the story of Michael Jordan as a young boy. He grew up playing basketball with his brothers, however, he was the shortest boy on the court. Over time and talking with his parents, Michael gained confidence to go back to the basketball court with his brothers. He was able to score the winning point for his team and went on to become a basketball star. As Michael faces pivotal decisions in the story, there are clear effects to his decision. This is why Salt in His Shoes makes a great resource for teaching cause and effect skills. Check out these Salt in His Shoes activities!
10. The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
This text tells the difficult story about a fox that loses his best friend, his pet dog. The two did everything together, and their favorite activity was gardening. It is very hard for Evan, the fox, to continue gardening after the loss of his dog. After an emotional journey for Evan, he grows a pumpkin that wins a prize in the fair- a new puppy! Evan must make decisions throughout the story that are caused by the loss of his friend, but affect him in positive ways. Check out these The Rough Patch activities!
In closing, we hope you found this post about how to teach asking questions using picture books helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts: