Author’s Purpose


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Teach students how to identify an author's purpose with this interactive presentation. Designed specifically for intermediate and middle school students.

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  • Why do you text our friends? Post to your facebook page? Pass a note? Briefly list some of the reasons for communicating in these written formats. Ask students to suggest reasons that writers create scripts for movies, write songs, or create advertising campaigns.
  • We often classify the purposes for writing into different categories. This unit introduces the five most common. They can be remembered by using the acronym PIECE. Recognizing what an author’s purpose is helps you to better understand the text you are reading. This skill is often tested on important reading assessments.
  • Caution: Just because an article or speech doesn’t convince you doesn’t change the intended purpose. Always consider what the author intended.
  • Caution: Just because an article or speech doesn’t convince you doesn’t change the intended purpose. Always consider what the author intended.
  • Caution: Some students will misidentify this purpose because they are not interested in the story. Since they are not entertained, they incorrectly assume that the author’s purpose must be something else. Caution students to always consider what the author intended when writing the piece, as opposed to the effect the writing has on them personally.
  • Caution: Just because an article or speech doesn’t convince you doesn’t change the intended purpose. Always consider what the author intended.
  • Poems and songs are in this category because the author purpose in writing the piece originally was to express some type of feeling. Although songs and poems do entertain us, when identifying an author’s purpose we always go back to the original intent.
  • Why would it be important to know when something is intended to inform or persuade?
  • Recognize when a question is asking about the author’s purpose or intent. Provide handout for reader’s journals.
  • Key words often appear at the beginning of the answer choices. Teach students to highlight these words and connect them to the author’s purposes.
  • Have students identify the key words in each of the answer choices and identify the type of author’s purpose it represents.
  • Discuss the audience and possible purpose of each one of these publications. Help students make the connection between the type of publication and the purpose of a text.
  • Look for key words in the answer choices. They often come at the beginning of the answer choice. For example: To encourage the reader to recycle paper waste; or To prove that buying products manufactured in America will decrease unemployment.
  • Examples: To explain how the Emperor Nero came to power; or To help the reader understand the process of photosynthesis; to instruct the reader on how to create a dream catcher; to give readers examples of different types of volcanoes
  • Examples: To create suspense; or To tell a humorous story about growing up.
  • Examples: To explain how both players have similar styles; to show how the National Parks in Utah and Florida are alike; to contrast the administrations of the two presidents
  • Examples: To share her feelings about being young and heart broken; to discuss the emotions Wendy felt when Peter takes her flying
  • Author’s Purpose

    1. 1. Part I
    2. 2. WHY?
    3. 3. Persuade convinceInform give factsEntertain fictionCompare two or moreExpress feelings
    4. 4. PersuadeWritten convince you to change your thinking, spendmoney, support a cause, or offer a solution to aproblem Examples Advertisements/Commercials Political Speeches VOTE Church sermons or literature Opinion Editorials Movie or book reviews
    5. 5. InformWritten to give information or describe something.Authors use facts and reasons to get the pointacross. Examples Textbooks News articles Informational Brochures Encyclopedias Schedules, charts, instructions
    6. 6. EntertainWritten to interest the reader, or appeal toemotions such as pleasure, sadness, anger, orhumor. Examples Fiction books and other stories Plays and movies Comic strips Video games Sports articles or programs
    7. 7. CompareExamines the way two or more things are alike ordifferent. Can have a secondary purpose to eitherinform or persuade. Examples Comparison essays Political analysis Consumer or product reports
    8. 8. ExpressWritten to share a writer’s feelings or expressopinions. Examples Poetry Songs Blogs Love letters Journals and diaries Letters to the editor
    9. 9. Practice SessionIdentify the author’s purpose for each of the following types of text.
    10. 10. What is the Purpose? A song about a father’s joy and love for his new baby girl. A political speech recommending that you support a tax increase. A poster in the hall that encourages students to say no to drugs. A pamphlet in a doctor’s office that explains the disease diabetes. A letter explaining the differences between two types of medical insurance.
    11. 11. Part II
    12. 12. Question Stems• The purpose… What is the most likely reason the author wrote … …author probably wrote to… Why do you think the author choose… How do you think the author would feel about… Why do you think the author decided to… Why does the author begin (end) the story with…
    13. 13. Answer ChoicesThe types of author’s purposes are often revealedin the answer choices. Learning key words will helpidentify the purpose each answer choicerepresents. A) To solve the problem… B) To encourage… C) To describe… D) To show…
    14. 14. Example 1  What is the most likely reason the author wrote “Picture This”? A)to persuade readers to learn photography B) to share the benefits of a career in photography C) to explain how photographic film captures an image D)to encourage readers to develop their own film
    15. 15. Example 2 Source #1 and Source #2 are written on the same topic. What was the purpose of each passage? Were the purposes of the passages the same? Did the articles achieve their purposes? Use text evidence to support your answer.
    16. 16. Example 3  Which detail supports the author’s purpose for writing this selection? A) Dog owners spend as much as $11,000 on their dogs in their lifetime B) Dogs in other countries live in packs C) There are more than 65 million pet dogs in the U.S. D) People think that their dogs need only love from them
    17. 17. Example 4  This article would most likely be found in a… A)Textbook about animal behavior. B) Popular science or health magazine. C) Newspapers local news section. D)Professional journal for veterinarians.
    18. 18. Key WordsPersuade InfluenceEncourage ConvinceProve UrgeSell InspireConvertAssure
    19. 19. Key WordsInform UnderstandShow DescribeEducate DiscussExplain TeachGive informationIllustrate
    20. 20. Key WordsEntertainTellShare an experienceRelateProvide detailsCreate
    21. 21. Key WordsCompareContrastBothAlike/Different
    22. 22. Key WordsExpressShareFeelingsEmotions
    23. 23. Practice Session Identify the key words in the answerchoices to each question. Explain which author’s purpose is indicated by that key word.
    24. 24.  You can tell from the first paragraph thatthis excerpt comes from a biography becausethe author…A)explains what Latimer thought and feltB) encourages readers to choose careers that use their talentsC) creates suspense about a fictional character.D)uses stanzas and rhyming words to express an idea.
    25. 25.  What is the most likely reason the authorwrote the article?A)To convince the reader to purchase a meerkat for a pet.B)To compare the meerkats ability to hunting for food to that of the domestic cat.C) To describe the characteristics of the meerkat.D)To discuss the importance of cooperation for meerkats and humans.
    26. 26.  The author probably wrote this selectionto…A)educate pet owners about the best ways to care for their petsB)urge pet owners to make regular visits to their vetC) describe the process of adopting a petD)influence readers to adopt pets from shelters
    27. 27. Created by Barbara Yardley, M.Ed. For more resources and ideas visit: www.readingandwritingoutloud.com