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Identify Author’s Purpose:
Why Did the Author Write the Selection?

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Reading Strategies
Why do you think the author wrote the article? To persuade? To entertain? To inform? To express? Author’s purpose is the reason or reasons an author has for writing a selection. If readers enjoyed what they read, one of the author’s purposes may have been to entertain. If students learn while they are reading, one of the author’s purposes may have been to inform. If readers changed the way they thought about a topic or issue, one of the author’s purposes may have been to persuade. Authors may have more than one purpose for writing. Author’s purpose can be stated explicitly or readers may have to infer the intent.

Reflective readers are able to analyze information more thoughtfully when they know an author’s purpose. Identifying an author’s purpose may give clues to a reader for how to pace their reading. Students need to adjust their reading rate for various selections. Informational articles may require a reader to slow down in order to fully understand ideas described.

Questions that help students explore author’s purpose:

  • Based on the title, why do think the author wrote this selection?
  • Which words do you think best describe the main reason the author wrote this selection: to provide readers with information? To describe a person, event, or issue? To express their own thoughts and feelings? To persuade readers to think about an issue in a certain way and to take action? Or to entertain the reader?
  • Why did the author write the article from a particular point of view?
  • How did the author influence your response to the selection?
  • Was the author’s purpose specifically stated?
  • Do you think that the author achieved his/her intended purposes? Did the article effectively give information? Entertain readers? Express the author’s thoughts and feelings? Persuade readers to think about an issue and/or take action?
  • What examples from the text support your conclusions about author’s purpose?


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