Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Digging Deeper into Author's Purpose

I've been promising a post on our Author's Purpose study last week and I've finally rounded up all the pictures and things, like time, that I needed to get it out here for you!
For author's purpose, our 4th grade standards require students to explain the author's purpose and describe how the choice of language, setting, characters, details, and other information contribute to the author's purpose.   
In other words, identifying the purpose is just scratching the surface for us! More times than not students are required to look at why an author included a particular section in a text. That seems to be really tough for my fourth graders. 
I decided we need to set aside some time to really look at what goes into making a good information, persuasive, or entertaining passage. If we have an idea of what goes into each purpose it'll help us better understand an author's language choices. 
For our mentor texts we used passages from The passages are right at a page long, so the perfect length for this type of mini lesson. 
I pulled the passages up on the Smartboard and we went through them together, highlighting and discussing what the essential ingredients in each passage were.
In our small groups we worked in our interactive notebooks. I created 2 passages per purpose and we glued those in and highlighted and labeled the different components of each purpose. 

I think it was very helpful for my students to label sentences and words as opinions, facts, generalizations, etc. When we got finished with the labeling I would ask them to tell me what "made up" an information passage and all they had to do was look up at their labels. 

After we had gone through each of the three purposes in our notebooks, I put students with a partner and gave them three passages from Readworks. The pairs read through each passage, decided on its purpose, and highlighted evidence to support their decision. 

For our grand finale, we created posters to persuade our audience. The posters had to relate back to something from Raymond and Graham and the kids had a great time! 

This one was by far my favorite and the most creative of the bunch! In the book, the boys come up with this scheme to get a kiss from a girl, so this group decided to advertise for a kissing booth! Down in the lower left corner that sentence says: "He even brushed his teeth!" LOL I loved it! No wonder there was so much giggling coming from that group. 

On Friday we took a little quiz and they did great. One side was just your basic identifying the purpose with a little writing component thrown in there. The other side had a persuasive and informational paragraph they had to label and then answer a few questions on. 

You can check out the set of author's purpose resources in my TPT if you are interested in doing these activities with your own class. 

What is your best tip for teaching author's purpose? 


  1. I love that you had your students label the sentences and talk more in depth about what each purpose would look like. Also added your product to my wishlist!

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  2. This is fantastic!!! I SO needed this, because I was having trouble grasping this standard. Brilliant!!!!


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