Examining Author's Purpose in a Fictional Text
Students will be able to recount parts of a fictional text.
- Explain to students that today they will be reading a short fictional text and trying to figure out what the central message of the text is, or the lesson or message the author is trying to explain to the reader. Call on a student to explain what an author is. Make sure the students understand that the author is the person who writes a story.
- Ask for a volunteer to explain some characteristics of fiction. Reinforce that a fictional text can sometimes be realistic, but it usually has made up characters and is pretend. Explain that unlike nonfiction text that we read for information, fiction text can be read for enjoyment and sometimes teaches us a lesson.
- Allow a few students to find fictional stories they have read from the classroom library and explain why the stories are fictional.
- Write the learning objective in student-friendly language on the board: "I can explain the words and phrases the author uses to help me understand the message of the story."
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(20 minutes)
- Project the Emily's Turtle worksheet on the whiteboard.
- Explain to students that before they choose fictional texts to read at their reading level, they will practice finding words and phrases in the story, Emily's Turtle, that help them understand the message the author is trying to convey.
- Read the first paragraph aloud, and circle or highlight words and phrases the author includes to help the reader understand what the character is like and how she feels about her turtle. For example, the sentence, "Emily and her turtle are best friends," shows the reader that Emily loves and cares about her turtle.
- Write the word purpose on the board. Explain to students that when they hear someone ask what the author's purpose for writing a story is, that means why they chose to write the story. Usually the purpose, or why, in a fictional text, is the message the author is trying to convey to the reader.
- Call on student volunteers to help read the rest of the story. Next, ask a few students to come up to the board and circle words and phrases the author uses to help the reader understand the message of the story. Refer to the answer sheet for support and clarify any misunderstandings the students have.
Guided Practice(10 minutes)
- Put students in partnerships and read aloud the sentence frames on the bottom of the Emily's Turtle worksheet. Next, ask the students to complete the sentence frames at the bottom of the worksheet with their partners.
- Rotate around the room and provide partners with support as needed.
- Encourage one set of partners to come up to the board to finish the sentence frames in front of the class.
- Reinforce that the message of the story is responsibility, and refer to the circled or highlighted words from the story to explain this point.
Independent working time(25 minutes)
- Give students time to choose a short fictional text at their reading level. Explain that they will read the story and write down words and phrases that help them understand the message the author is trying to convey in their reading journals or logs.
- Write the same sentence frame on the board for students to copy in their reading journals or logs:
- The author is trying to tell us to be ____.
- I know this because the text says ____.
- The word ____ means ____.
- The author used this word because ____ .
- The author is trying to tell us to be ____.
- Explain to students that when they are finished reading their choice story, they will use the words and phrases they jotted down to finish the sentence frame in their reading journals or logs.
- Allow students to work in partnerships or in a small teacher-led group during independent work time.
- Provide an opportunity for students to work in a small group to read a short fictional text and figure out the message the author is trying to convey prior to the lesson.
Enrichment: Allow students to create their own fictional story with a central message, using words and phrases that will help the reader to figure out what the message is. Provide students with the Choice Storyboard worksheet to help them create their stories.
- Call on a few students to read their sentence frames aloud and explain the message they gained from reading the story.
- Collect student reading logs or journals as a formative assessment to assess understanding of the learning objective.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask students to complete a think-pair-share with an elbow partner and answer one of the following discussion questions:
- Using the words author, purpose, and fiction, explain what you learned about today.
- Why is it important to understand the author's purpose for writing a story?
- What was the message from the story you picked out? What words or phrases helped you come to this conclusion?