Author's purpose

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Common core standards

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Teaching strategies

Recognizing the author’s purpose in writing is a huge step towards getting students to become critical readers. Most schools teach three types of author’s purposes—to entertain, to inform and to persuade. Some schools teach a fourth type—to instruct. As this concept is most commonly taught in fourth grade, almost all of the activities and links featured here are for third to fourth grade. Please feel free to add more content—especially for other grades!

Classroom activities

  • Polk FOCUS Author's Purpose has basically the same elements as all of the worksheets featured. However, on page two, it also has some good questions to ask students to get them on the right track. Here they are:
  • "Why did the author write this anyhow?
  • What was the reason this piece was written?
  • The article was written mainly to…
  • Did the author try to make me laugh? (Entertain)
  • Did the author want to tell me a story? (Entertain)
  • Did the author try to amuse me? (Entertain)
  • Did the author give me facts? (Inform)
  • Did the author try to teach me something? (Inform)
  • Did the author try to convince me? (Persuade)
  • Did the author want to change my opinion? (Persuade)

Cyber activities

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| Oswego Author’s Purpose Match has students match an author’s purpose (entertain, inform, persuade) with the right example statement.
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| FCAT Strategies Author’s Purpose Grade 4 is a practice (read: dry) activity. Students read sentences and decide what the author’s purpose is. The activity also goes into fact and opinion and how to use that to figure out author’s purpose.
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| Harcourt Schools Grade 4 Author’s Purpose has students read a passage, decide the author’s purpose and then choose which extra sentence would fit the passage. It has sound effects.
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| StudyZone ELA 4 Author Purpose is similar. Students read a passage and decide the author’s purpose. A baby smiles if they get the answer right. Authors Purpose Quize is similar, but structured as a quiz.
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| That Quiz Author’s Purpose has students choose the purpose of short statements. Very dry, but definitely quiz-like.
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| WPS AB Longman Author’s Purpose is a 12 question quiz on author’s purpose.
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| EClassroom 4th English Authors Purpose is a basketball game. When a student gets the purpose right, they get to take a shot. The most entertaining of the games—but it does take some time to make the shot so it’s a little less of an efficient practice.

iPad apps

At home

Free worksheets

  • Teaching Vision Authors Purpose is a four page handout that starts with explanations of different author’s purposes, moves to having students decide the purpose of various passages, then to having students generate topics for different purposes, and ends with having the students write a persuasive paragraph.

  • Scholastic Judgement Grades 3-4 is a five page worksheet that has students read two different passages. After reading the passage, the students have to identify purpose, fact and opinions statements, and correct some grammatical mistakes.


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| YouTube Learning Upgrade Author’s Purpose is a short informative, animated song.
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| SchoolTube Author's Purpose is a nine minute video with a ton of different SuperBowl ads and other media clips showing examples of different author's purposes.

At home

Helpful links

  • Author Stream Author’s Purpose Slideshow has 15 slides with four types of author’s purposes, facts and opinions and examples of media besides passages that have purposes like book reviews, magazine ads, etc. There is a cute bunny on almost every slide so it’s definitely geared towards younger students.

Product reviews

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