Teaching Author's Purpose | Answer, Describe, and Explain

Identifying the author's main purpose for writing a text is an important component of reading comprehension.  When reading informational text, students should be able to determine if an author is writing to answer a question, describe a person or a specific topic, or explain how something works or how to do something.  This is a topic that you may want to spend more than one week on, since its a little difficult for students to grasp within one week.  It's very important to provide lots of scaffolding to aid students in remembering the different purposes in which an author might write a text.  In this post, I will share some activity ideas, anchor charts, posters, and printables to use in your author's purpose lessons.


Author's Purpose Activity Packet (Answer, Describe, or Explain


Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.


Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Anchor charts are vital in your instruction for scaffolding purposes.  I printed these two as posters and laminated to use throughout my unit.  The first can be used when reading a text or to sort different books in your text set.  The second is a checklist that is so helpful for students to go through when reading a text.   I always require students to provide text evidence to support their thinking to ensure that I know they understand the concept.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Posters are also helpful to help students remember what the three different main purposes are, as well as the questions they can ask themselves after reading a book.  I used the lemonADE acronym to help students eventually remember the three main purposes while reading independently.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

A fun activity that I like to incorporate in my comprehension instruction is the CASE FILE.  Students love to play and pretend while learning, so they of course love pretending to be detectives!  This activity can be used in lots of ways.  You can use it in whole group, cooperative groups, or at a learning center.  Some teachers even have their own text detective centers which is super fun!  This is a great to do learning centers while social distancing, because they can do this individually at their seats.  

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

I put these covers on the front and back of envelopes and laminate them.  Inside the envelope I put a book or passage, along with the author's purpose checklists.  You can also throw in some detective badges and magnifying glasses to use as trackers.  They fill out the checklist after reading the text and turn in to you.  This is a great way to get students to discuss their thinking and is a great assessment for you.  

You could also use this on day one of your unit, and pretend it's a special delivery for your class.  Your read aloud for the day could be inside.  This would get students super excited about author's purpose!

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

If you receive Scholastic flyers, you can use these for a fun sorting activity.  If you don't have these, you could simply copy and paste some book cover images into a document and print for students to sort.  Based on the cover of the book, they have to determine what they think the author's main purpose for writing the text might be.  This will only work with informational texts, so be sure to explain that to students before the activity.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

The great thing about the checklist is that you can also use it outside of the case file.  You can use it as an independent daily task, at a center, or as an assessment.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

I always like to throw in a craft somewhere, so these little authors are fun to make and display.  They can either choose a book or you can do this with your read aloud for that day.  Students will write the author's purpose and how they know.  You may want to give them a sentence frame, such as, "The author's purpose of the book _________ is to ___________.  I know this because..."

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

I also like to incorporate some other printables that you can use as your daily task for your lesson.  The ones below require students to write the author's purpose and provide three different reasons from the text to support their thinking.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

One of my favorite activities to incorporate is a book club!  You could do this whole group or in your small groups.  Students will take a story and determine the author's purpose and three different reasons to support their thinking.  Have them paste their writing onto a small paper lunch sack.  When everyone is ready, fill the bags with popcorn and split students into small groups.  Also provide groups with these nonfiction discussion cards to go through while having their book club.  You will want to assign one member of the group to read the questions.  They can also discuss their thinking on the author's main purpose.  This is a fun activity to build up to at the end of the unit!

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Finally, at the end of each lesson, I always provide an exit ticket.  There are different ones in the resource so that you can switch it up each day.  You can print these or just have them do it on their whiteboards.  This gives you another assessment to help drive your instruction the following day.  In our lessons, we have to always include three forms of assessment for each standard taught.  

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Thank you so much for reading about how I teach author's purpose in my classroom.  If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a question in my store.  You can click on any of the images from this post for the link to these resources shown here.  I hope you have a great and restful weekend!

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.

Author's purpose anchor chart, author's purpose activities, printables, and more!  Tips and tricks for teaching students to determine the author's main purpose for writing a text, including what an author want to answer, explain, or describe.










3 comments

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  2. It is the responsibility of teachers in school to provide better knowledge to their students whether it is about the stuff in the books, good habits, healthy schedule or any other thing that will help in their life afterwards. Thanks for the information. Keep sharing!
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