Instant Reading Comprehension Practice Grade 5

Teaching Tip of the Month

This month's Teaching Tip comes from Instant Reading Comprehension Practice Grade 5.

Comprehension Strategies for Multiple Choice

Finding Cause and Effect

Have students ask themselves, "What happened, and why did it happen?"

What happened is the effect. Why it happened is the cause. If they forget this, students can write What = Effect and Why = Cause on the top of their page until the information can easily be recalled. Example: When Lisa read the book, she learned that a giraffe's heart is two feet long.

What happened? (effect) Lisa learned something? Why did it happen? (cause) Lisa read a book.


Ask students to read over the sentences in the order they think the events happened? Think about what comes first and what comes later? Think about whether the order makes sense? Make sure the last sentence could not have happened until the previous ones did? Consider the following example:

  1. When her television turned on, Ms. Larson thought Scott was a genius.
  2. Ms. Larson's television set wasn't working.
  3. Ms. Larson did see Scott plug the cord into the electrical socket.

What is the correct sequence?

  1. 1, 2, 3
  2. 3, 2, 1
  3. 2, 3, 1

Answer: C

Making Inferences

When we make an inference, we use clues from the story to figure out something the author hasn't told us.

Example: Caesar's heart pounded! He felt a cold trickle of sweat run down his back.

Most likely, was Caesar hungry, tired, or afraid? If Caesar was hungry, he probably wouldn't be having such a strong physiological reaction. The same logic can be applied to being tired. Being afraid is the only logical answer.

Predicting Outcomes

When we predict an outcome, we make a logical guess about what is going to happen next. Remind students not to answer what happened? They should only be concerned about what might happen in the future.

Example: At the beach, Callie saw a sign that said, "No swimming. Dangerous currents."

Have students make logical guesses about what might happen next? (Callie stays out of the water; Callie goes into the water, and she gets caught in a dangerous current, etc.)

Remember: Insist that students read every answer choice! Have them eliminate or cross out the answer choices that don't make sense or that they know are wrong!

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