How To Teach Author's Purpose: It's As Easy As P.I.E.

Understanding the author's purpose is a crucial skill for elementary students to develop as it enhances their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. By understanding the author's intent, students can gain deeper insights into the text and engage with it on a more meaningful level. 

First, it is important to expose students to author's purpose through a variety of text, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, newspaper articles and advertisements. I like to guide my students through this process using these posters: 

They act as a great visual reminder and anchor chart for the students to reference (click the picture above to grab your free copy). 

I start our lessons by reading a passage aloud and ask the students to determine the author's purpose. I ask questions such as "Is the author trying to make you laugh or tell you a story?" or "Is the author giving you facts or opinions?" I like to use task cards with the whole class when first introducing the concept too. The stories are short and can keep the attention of my students. They give them just enough information and everyone can be successful.

Providing activities that explicitly focus on identifying author's purpose allows students to actively apply their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding of the concept. My students loved creating their author's purpose flapbooks.

The kids sorted different types of text and glued them under the corresponding author's purpose. The small group discussions were amazing! The kids were trying to convince one another why a certain text belonged with a specific author's purpose. It was awesome to listen to their reasoning and PERSUADE one another to think a certain way. We had a discussion about this afterward.

I don't have a TON of space to display things in my classroom. I put a few flap books up on our concept board, next to our anchor posters. This will allow the kids to use them as reference for other activities we will be doing next week. The rest of the students glued them into their interactive language notebooks. You can grab this activity and more in my Author's Purpose Pack.

Students also review this skill as they work independently at a center using this set of BOOM Cards:

Author's Purpose digital task cards

I hope you are able to use these author's purpose ideas with your students too!


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