How to Teach Author’s Purpose to Elementary Students in 2022 – Clutter-Free Classroom

Author’s purpose is an important reading comprehension strategy for elementary students to become proficient in. Authors usually write books to persuade, inform, or entertain. When readers determine the author’s purpose, they can explain the author’s reason for writing the text and what the author wants readers to know or do after reading. This strategy helps readers better understand and enjoy stories they read and listen to. Learn all about how to teach author’s purpose below!

What is Author’s Purpose?

All authors write for a reason. When readers determine the author’s purpose, they are trying to figure out the author’s reason for writing the text and what the author wants readers to know or do.

While there can be many reasons an author writes, there are three main reasons. Writers want to persuade, inform, or entertain their readers. Almost any reason someone has for writing can fit into one of these three categories.

When authors are writing to persuade, they want to share their opinion on a topic with their readers. Their goal is to get readers to agree with their opinion. Sometimes, opinion writers include facts and real examples to support their opinion. Some real world examples of persuasive writing are advertisements, commercials, and newspaper editorials.

Sometimes authors want to inform, or provide facts to their reader. When writing to inform readers, the author hopes to teach readers about a topic. This type of writing contains facts and specific information. This information is used to teach the reader, not to persuade them. Real life examples of this include textbooks, cookbooks, newspapers, and encyclopedias.

Most authors of children’s books write to entertain readers. These authors work to tell a story that has real or imaginary characters, settings, and events. Sometimes these authors hope to make readers laugh or just provide them with a positive reading experience. Some examples of texts written for entertainment include poems, stories, plays, and comics.

Why Is Identifying Author’s Purpose an Important Comprehension Strategy?

Teaching students to determine and consider the author’s purpose is an important reading skill. Using this strategy helps students set a purpose for their reading. When students know the reason an author wrote a text, they have a focus on what information to remember which strengthens their comprehension.

As students get older, they have more and more access for written information. Identifying the author’s purpose becomes even more important as students try to identify factual sources for information, as sometimes authors have a bias. There is so much information out there and easily accessible, students need to understand why the author wrote the text so they can draw their conclusions. Readers must consider if what they are reading is factual, trying to persuade them, or comes from a credible author or source.

Teaching Standards for Author’s Purpose

Standards for this reading comprehension topic include…

CCSS

  • RL.1.5: Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
  • RL.2.5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending conclusions of the action.
  • RL.3.5: Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
  • RL.4.5: Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (eg, verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (eg, casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
  • RL.5.5: Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

TEKS

  • LA.1.10.A: discuss the author’s purpose for writing text;
  • LA.1.10.B: discuss how the use of text structure contributions to the author’s purpose;
  • LA.1.9.E: recognize characteristics of persuasive text with adult assistance and state what the author is trying to persuade the reader to think or do; and
  • LA.2.10.A: discuss the author’s purpose for writing text;
  • LA.2.10.B: discuss how the use of text structure contributions to the author’s purpose;
  • LA.2.9.Ei: recognize characteristics of persuasive text, including: stating what the author is trying to persuade the reader to think or do; and
  • LA.2.9.E.ii: recognize characteristics of persuasive text, including: distinguishing facts from opinion; and
  • LA.3.10.A: explain the author’s purpose and message within a text;
  • LA.3.10.B: explain how the use of text structure contributions to the author’s purpose;
  • LA.3.9.Ei: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the claim;
  • LA.3.9.E.ii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: distinguishing facts from opinion; and
  • LA.3.9.E.iii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the intended audience or reader; and
  • LA.4.10.A: explain the author’s purpose and message within a text;
  • LA.4.10.B: explain how the use of text structure contributions to the author’s purpose;
  • LA.4.9.Ei: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the claim;
  • LA.4.9.E.ii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: explaining how the author has used facts for an argument; and
  • LA.4.9.E.iii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the intended audience or reader; and
  • LA.5.10.A: explain the author’s purpose and message within a text;
  • LA.5.10.B: analyze how the use of text structure contributions to the author’s purpose;
  • LA.5.9.Ei: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the claim;
  • LA.5.9.E.ii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: explaining how the author has used facts for or against an argument; and
  • LA.5.9.E.iii: recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text by: identifying the intended audience or reader;

3 Tips for Teaching Students to identify the Author’s Purpose

Below are suggestions for when you’re teaching your students to identify the author’s purpose when reading.

1. Read Aloud Picture Books

Reading aloud picture books is a great way to model and practice this reading comprehension strategy. There are tons of great read alouds out there for teaching students to analyze the illustrations of a book. Some high-quality examples include The Art Lesson, The Girl Who Thought in Pictures, Bob, Not Bob, Can I Be Your Dog?, and Just Ask!.

2. Make Anchor Charts

Anchor charts are another great way to teach students about identifying the author’s purpose in books. My author’s purpose resource includes an interactive anchor chart that successfully engages students in their learning and provides a visual learning experience for students to learn about identifying the author’s purpose.

3. Use Videos

The third on the list of tips for teaching students to identify the author’s purpose is playing videos. This is another great visual learning opportunity for students to learn about what can feel like a very abstract idea. Below are some examples of videos that are great for teaching students how to identify the author’s purpose in picture books.

Author’s Purpose Resources

These printable and digital resources for teaching elementary students about identifying author’s purpose to make curriculum and lesson planning quick and easy. It includes teacher, parent, and student resources, so you’ll have everything you need to deliver meaningful research-based instruction rooted in current best practices.

author's purpose teaching resource reading comprehension strategies teaching resource

What is Included

1. Teacher Resources

There are teacher notes about the strategy, teaching ideas, a planning page with question prompts, and a list of mentoring texts, so you have all of the information you need to plan a research and standards-based reading unit based on this reading comprehension strategy.

2. Parent Resources

There is a parent letter and a reading log with suggested question prompts so parents can confidently support and reinforce the strategy you are teaching with their children at home.

3. Instructional Resources

There are printables to create a large anchor chart and reference charts. Both save you lots of time searching for anchor chart ideas and supplemental teaching tools.

4. Student Resources

There are 3 printables and 2 activities for students that provide meaningful opportunities to practice and make sense of the reading strategy in a fun and engaging way

5. Digital Resources

There are digital versions of several of the resources so students can access them in school or at home using a technology device of their choice.

Why Teachers Love this Resource

  1. This collection of resources is versatile in that it can be used on it’s own or can be used to supplement any reading curriculum, so you will be able to continue to use these resources if your school adopts a new reading program or you switch school districts.
  2. This resource is part of a larger collection of reading strategy products, so you can provide a consistent instructional approach that your students quickly learn and understand the expectations and routines for. Learn more about this collection here!
  3. It’s a huge time saver! Instead of hunting for background information on a reading strategy and then searching for resources to teach the strategy, this comprehensive resource includes all of the information and resources you need to teach a whole unit on this reading strategy.
  4. The student activities are a lot of fun for students, which helps create a productive learning environment where students are engaged and learning!
  5. It includes resources that provide a great way to create a home-school connection with students’ families and support parents/guardians in continuing student learning at home.

In closing, we hope you found this post about how to teach author’s purpose helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in this other post about elementary reading comprehension strategies.

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