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Lesson Plan

Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters

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Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 30- to 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Leliaert

Fishers, Indiana


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Expository texts are a key component of literacy but often do not get introduced to students until the later grades. This lesson helps third- through fifth-grade students explore the nature and structure of expository texts that focus on cause and effect. Students begin by activating prior knowledge about cause and effect; the teacher then models discovering these relationships in a text and recording in a graphic organizer what the relationships that the class finds. Students work in small groups to apply what they learned using related books and then write paragraphs outlining the cause-and-effect relationships they have found.

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  • ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool: This online interactive tool will help students understand the importance of organizing ideas and concepts from informational text.
  • Essay Map: This online interactive tool will help students map out and write clear paragraphs that include information about cause-and-effect relationships from their expository text.

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Moss, B. (2004). Teaching expository text structures through information trade book retellings. The Reading Teacher, 57(8), 710718.

  • Students need more exposure to expository text along with explicit instruction that helps them understand the features and structure of this type of writing.

  • There is a wide range of informational books written for children; many of these books are appropriate for teaching expository text structure.

  • Among the text structures these texts can teach are description, sequence, comparison and contrast, problem and solution, and cause and effect.

  • Teachers should model how to find these text structures before asking students to discover them independently or in small groups.

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