Lesson plan

Why I Write

Second grade students will step into the author’s shoes as they hunt for evidence to determine what a nonfiction author’s purpose might be.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify the author’s main purpose in a nonfiction text.

(5 minutes)
  • Introduce the lesson by displaying several different nonfiction texts and asking students to think about why they might want to read each book.
  • Have several students share why they might choose to read the texts. Ideas might include: "I want to learn more about dogs," "I like funny books," "I want to make a paper airplane," etc.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell the students that all of the reasons you just discussed are things the author thinks about when writing a book. An author thinks about what their main purpose for their book should be in order to write a book that people will want to read. Explain that a main purpose could be to entertain, to inform, to teach, ot to persuade.
  • Explain that while an author doesn’t usually tell the reader what their main purpose is, there are ways a reader can identify the main purpose. Readers can find the main purpose using evidence. Evidence can be found when you pay attention to the details in a text.
  • Look through one of the nonfiction texts and identify text features or parts of the text that provide evidence of the author’s purpose.
(10 minutes)
  • Display a second nonfiction text and ask the students to listen as you read aloud a few pages of the book.
  • Pause while reading and ask questions such as “Did the author try to teach me something?" "Did the author try to entertain me?" or "Did the author want to convince me of something?"
  • Record the evidence students find while answering the above questions.
  • As a group, determine the main purpose of the author using the evidence gathered.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out a nonfiction text and the Find the Purpose worksheets and have students work independently to identify the author’s main purpose.


  • Allow students to review the read-aloud text to practice identifying evidence of the author’s main purpose.


  • Have students choose a second nonfiction text and complete the Where’s the Evidence? worksheet to identify the author’s main purpose.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess whether students were able to identify the author’s main purpose using supporting evidence found in the text.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the different types of nonfiction books and why an author might choose a different purpose for an instructional text vs. an informative text.

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