Explore Character Motivation with Cause + Effect

Amy Beall

How cool is Storyworks 4th grade adviser Amy Beall from North Carolina? She's whipped up a quickie Cause and Effect lesson for fellow subscribers to try out with September's Fiction story "Freddie in the Shade.” Sunglasses are optional! Your students can explore character motivation in partners or independently as they gain a greater awareness of the story's theme. It's so simple to try, and Amy's created a graphic organizer template here to go right along with her lesson. Plus, she offers writing extensions. What a back-to-school gift! Thanks, Amy. Please let us know if you use it, and feel free to share your own skill-building spin on any of our articles and stories.  

Exploring character’s feelings with cause and effect.

1.  During a second read of the story (with or without sunglasses on), have students focus on looking for the different feelings Freddie exhibits throughout the story. 

2.  With a partner, complete the cause and effect sheet about Freddie’s feelings.


  • Identify a feeling Freddie has
  • Determine the cause of the feeling
  • Explain the effect of having that feeling 
  • If the feeling was a negative one, describe the solution to overcome the feeling 

3.  Discuss the answers as a whole class or partners.

Try these writing extensions:

  • Ask students to write in their journals about a time when they too had some of the same feelings Freddie had, and whether their solution was similar. 
  • Students might choose to write a “How to…” guide to overcoming challenging emotions/situations similar to Freddie’s problems.

What can I say? My students really enjoyed this activity. And, importantly, I believe that they were able to connect to Freddie more by analyzing Freddie’s feelings along with obtaining a deeper understanding of the story. Connecting to the character at this level also created more awareness of the theme. I hope you give it a try in your classroom! 





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