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  • Writer's pictureThe Literacy Lady

Determining the Author's Purpose

Updated: Jan 26

Every time an author puts pen to paper, they have a purpose. This purpose typically falls into one of three categories: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. We teach these simple categories to our students. First, let's go over the basics.


To Inform: When the author's goal is to teach the reader or provide the reader with information or facts, the author's purpose is to inform. An easy way to remember this is if the reader is giving INFORMation...it is inform! We see this style in textbooks, newspapers, or even informative picture books that share knowledge on various topics.


To Persuade: Authors may also aim to persuade their readers to think a certain way or take a specific action. Persuasive writing can be found in magazines or newspapers. These kinds of texts often encourage the reader to make a change or start something new.


To Entertain: Sometimes, the main goal of writing is simply to entertain. This is the best kind of writing...I love fiction! I just want to be entertained! Authors create stories, poems, and humorous pieces to captivate their readers' imaginations, evoke emotions, and bring joy.


When teaching this skill it is important to give your students the tools to correctly identify the author's purpose. First, students need to learn how to look for the clues in the text. have students ask themselves, "Am I learning something new?" or "Do I see characters with a plot?" or "Is the author trying to make me change?"


Students should look for clue words as well. Certain key words and phrases can act as clues. Words like "facts," "information," "because," or "for example" may signal an informative purpose. Persuasive writing often includes words like "should," "must," or "believe." On the other hand, entertaining writing might include characters with problem and solution.


I created a fun and engaging resource that centers around author's purpose at my TpT store. You can grab the whole thing here, or try a freebie below. This resource has four different types of worksheets for your students! These are great for homework, review, stations, or even assessment.


Students will practice identifying the author's purpose: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. This resource includes cut and sort activities as well as worksheets with text evidence in passages. I also included two exit tickets with STAAR questions that align with the TEKS.


Once a student fully understands WHY an author wrote the text they can make deeper connections and develop a deeper understanding. We must empower our students to use their reading skills to determine the author's purpose.



Author's Purpose Worksheets - FREEBIE
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