Lesson Plan

Identifying the Author's Purpose

This lesson gives students foundational skills needed to identify the author's purpose in a variety of texts. Use the lesson as a stand alone or as a pre-lesson to What Were They Thinking?
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What Were They Thinking? lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What Were They Thinking? lesson plan.



Students will be able to explain the idea of an author’s purpose and analyze texts to determine whether the author writes to persuade, inform, or entertain the reader.


Students will be able to distinguish facts from opinions and orally identify the author's purpose in short text selections using strategic pairing and sentence stems.


(5 minutes)
Frayer ModelFact or Opinion SentencesAuthor’s Purpose Task CardsVocabulary Cards: Identifying the Author's PurposeGlossary: Identifying the Author's PurposeWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceTeach Background Knowledge Template
  • Share with students what type of texts you enjoy reading (e.g. mystery, recipes, etc). Ask students to turn to a partner and discuss the types of books/texts they like to read. Invite a few students to share their conversations with the whole group and record students' answers on a piece of chart paper.
  • Show students examples of various types of texts (recipe book, newspaper article, picture book, joke book, nonfiction text), and explain that when an author writes, they have a reason or a purpose for writing the text.
  • Create a phrase bank collaboratively with students on author's purposes on a separate piece of chart paper. Ask students to think about why an author writes a particular text. Guide students to think of reasons such as to make people laugh, for fun, to give people information, to explain how to do something, to convince people of what to buy. Make sure the phrase bank is visible for the duration of this lesson. Make the connection between students' ideas of purpose and the formal three reasons for writing: to entertain, to inform, and to persuade.
  • Hold up a picture book and ask students to talk with a partner about what they predict the author's purpose was, using the phrase bank. Provide the following sentence stem: "I predict the author's purpose was to ________."
  • Repeat the process for another type of text. Invite a few students to share their prediction with the whole group.
  • Tell students that it is important for readers to know how to identify the author's purpose when they read a text because it helps the reader choose the type of book to read and also understand the text more deeply.