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Home » Blog » Literacy » Comprehension » Teaching Author’s Purpose in 2nd grade

Teaching Author’s Purpose in 2nd grade

Comprehension, Literacy

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

2nd grade is an amazing time of growth for young writers. They are growing into their own writing style, and are starting to have strong opinions about which types of books they like to read best. But do they understand the author’s purpose, both when they are reading, or writing their own work? Keep reading to discover fun and engaging ways to introduce author’s purpose in the 2nd-grade classroom.

What is “author’s purpose”?

The author’s purpose is the reason why the author wrote their work. In 2nd grade, explore the following: to persuade, inform, or entertain.

Before you begin exploring author’s purpose, make a chart with the classroom. Ask “Who is an author?” The answer is easy – anyone who writes is an author! Your classroom is filled with authors, ready to tell a great story. Next, ask “Why do authors write?” Create a brainstorming list with all the reasons an author chooses to write.

why do authors write brainstorm web

As easy as P-I-E!

PIE acronym chart to teach author's purpose P=persuade, I=inform, E=entertain

Remember this helpful acronym when teaching author’s purpose. It’s as easy as P-I-E!

  • P – Persuade: the author wants you to do, buy, or believe what they are writing about. They want to convince you of their point of view.
    • Examples: commercials, billboards, advertisements, opinion articles
  • I– Inform: the author gives facts and information about a topic.
    • Examples: News articles, nonfiction books and magazines, recipes, directions, biographies
  • E – Entertain: the author wants you to enjoy their writing, and hold your attention.
    • Examples: fiction, fantasy, comics

Check out this video that explains author’s purpose and provides excellent examples of each purpose.

Author’s Purpose Game

Toothy game to practice author's purpose

Ready to dig into author’s purpose? Let’s use everyone’s favorite game – Toothy! New to Toothy? You can find out everything you need to know about setting up this game here.

Let’s take a look at a few of the Toothy Cards. In this game, students will choose a card from the pile. Then, they will read the card, and choose the author’s purpose. Next, they will write the answer on their answer sheet. If they answer correctly, they draw a tooth in Toothy’s mouth! A great thing about all our Toothy games is that they are self-checking, so they can be used as independent or center work. They also work well for a fun whole-group or small-group game.

The card reads, “Mom, can I please have a dog? I will take good care of it and walk it every day. I can use my own money to buy the food. It will be so much fun! Love, Alex”

Ask your students, “What is the author’s purpose?” Students will choose inform, persuade, or entertain. Check your answers together, and watch as Toothy grows a smile!

Download HERE

Looking for more author’s purpose activities? We recommend the “Strawberry Patch Purpose” from our Summer Early Finishers Packet and Easy As Pie! from our Literacy Centers (are the names of these centers making anyone else hungry?!?) Download those activities below.

strawberry patch author's purpose practice sheet

Download HERE

authors purpose easy as pie literacy center activity

Download HERE

Extension Activities for Author’s Purpose in 2nd Grade

Looking for more writing activities to explore author’s purpose? Check out these activities and links below.

Persuade: Choose a topic and write a persuasive letter to the principal. What are you trying to persuade the principal to do? Would you like more recess? Extra dessert at lunch? More supplies for your classroom? Think big as a class and write the best persuasive letter. Don’t forget to include your reasons for your request! For mentor texts on persuasion and opinion writing, check out this blog post:14 Mentor Texts to Introduce Opinion Writing.

Inform: Have students think of something new they learned how to do this year. Did they learn how to ride a bike? Play a new song on the piano? Bake the best chocolate chip cookies? Practice informational writing by writing a step-by-step How-To guide for their new skill. Combine all the writing together to create a “2nd Grade Expert How-To Book.” For tips on how to introduce informational writing in 2nd grade, this blog post has everything you need: An Easy Way to Introduce Informational Writing in 2nd Grade.

Entertain: Write and illustrate a comic about a funny moment that happened at school this year. Don’t forget to use exaggeration, and imagination, and keep it funny!


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