When I look over my students' shoulders during standardized tests, I notice a LOT of questions about author's purpose. They are being asked to read short snippets of text, then identify the main goal of the author. Is it to persuade? inform? entertain? I developed this mini-unit because my students needed explicit, guided practice with this skill. It is not always as easy as it sounds! Some pieces can fall in to more than one category categories, which is why a guided discussion can help students solidify this skill and choose the best answer. This activity requires close reading or text-based reading and students look for evidence within the samples to justify their opinions.
This mini-unit introduces students to the Author's Purpose (persuade, inform, entertain) through guided practice. There are 15 writing samples that students will first identify as either persuasive, informative, or entertaining. Then, they will decide what the author is trying to convince them of (persuasion), inform them of (informative), or entertain them with (entertain).
* Editable, student-friendly Google doc version of this packet
* Handout explaining the key features and genres of persuasive, informative, and entertaining (PIE) texts
* Model/sample writing for each category (3 total). Read and discuss as a class
* Guided practice sample writing for each category (3 total). Read, discuss, and identify in small groups. Students will engage in close reading to determine the type of writing (PIE) and the author's specific goal.
* Individual practice writing samples (9 total). Students will identify the type of writing (PIE) and the author's specific goal.
* Answer Key and critical discussion points
Being able to identify the author's purpose in writing will help students to become better readers as well as better writers. This is a critical component of the Balanced Literacy approach. Only by recognizing and identifying key features of model writing can students become more experienced readers who then incorporate these same ideas into their own writing repertoire.
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This unit addresses the following Common Core Standards:
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