Lesson: Author's Purpose: Testing Examples

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to answer multiple choice test questions based on the author's purpose for writing.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Readers over the past few days we have spent a lot of time thinking about why an author might write.  We talked about texts that persuade, inform, and entertain.  However, often this skill looks a little different on a test.  We might not be asked to read a passage and simply say the purpose for writing.  We will have to think about individual paragraphs and the reasons behind including information in a text.  This requires much more thinking and re-reading than our earlier lessons.  Today, we will take time to practice with test question examples. 


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Over the past few days we have been really focused on identify a passage based on the author’s purpose.  This is a great place to begin our work but we also have to think about author’s purpose more specifically.  The end-of-year assessment will have questions about the purpose of specific paragraphs or why an author decided to include certain information.  Today we will read a selection that is from a sample test.  As we read we will stop think write the purpose for each paragraph or section.  Remember we practiced this same skill for the main idea of a passage.  At the end I will ask you to return to your seats to continue practicing and answer three multiple-choice questions.  This is great practice for our assessment tomorrow and the end-of-year test. 


Teacher places the article, “Playful People Pleasers” on the overhead.  Teacher reads aloud the first paragraph.  I learned a lot in that paragraph.  Now I need to think about what was the author’s purpose for including this information.  I will write on the overhead the sentence starter to help us think throughout the lesson.  I think the author’s purpose is to inform us that two giant pandas live in a zoo in DC. 


Did you notice how I stopped to think after reading and determined the purpose for that paragraph.  This will help me when I finish reading the entire article because I will have already don’t most of the work to find the author’s purpose of the entire article.  Let’s keep working.


Teacher reads aloud the second paragraph.  Turn and tell your partner what you think the author’s purpose of this paragraph is using the sentence starter we learned earlier.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher has students share out and charts their responses.  I think you are all correct.  The author’s purpose of paragraph two is to inform the reader why the pandas have certain names. 


I think you are almost ready to try on your own.  Let’s practice together with paragraph three then you will be off on your own.  Teacher reads aloud paragraph three.  Turn and tell your partner the author’s purpose.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher charts their responses.  Great job everyone.  I will add, “the purpose of paragraph three is to inform the reader that panda’s are in danger of becoming extinct. 


You are now ready to practice on your own.  When you return to your seats today you will continue reading the article on your own.  As you read stop after each paragraph to write a sentence explaining the author’s purpose.  You may do this right on the article itself underneath the paragraph.  Once you finish, try to answer the three multiple-choice questions.  I think you will find the questions are much easier to answer because you took the time to stop and write after each paragraph.  Off you go.



Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats to complete work independently.  Teacher should circulate during this time or conference with groups of students.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Students share their answers to the multiple choice questions.  I think this time is useful to clarify any student misconceptions.  I encourage dialogue between the students and push their thinking to explain why they chose a specific answer.  Teacher may collect these as exit slips at the end of the lesson.


Reflection: I have always found there is a difference between what students are capable of scoring on in-class assignments similar to reading a passage and determining the purpose and standardized test questions.  Students are required to do much more than select the correct purpose of entire selection.  For that reason, I included this lesson to orient students’ thinking about what an author’s purpose test question could look like.  The practice sets students up to be successful when they are asked to answer more specific author’s purpose questions.

Lesson Resources

Author's Purpose Test Practice.do.pdf  


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