Introducing Bias and Continuing with Author's Purpose

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SWBAT define bias and conduct a close read for author's purpose.

Big Idea

How do author's purpose and bias connect? We will read an article on autism that shows a different point of view and find evidence to support the author's attitude toward autism.

Silent Reading: Reading Log Conferring

20 minutes

Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.


To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.

Define Bias

15 minutes

I start by asking students where they've heard the term bias. In our school, our librarian does presentations on effective research techniques. One of them is being aware of biased websites. Many refer to this discussion when speaking about bias.

If there is little to no background information, I will often use the sport analogy. When have you heard the term used in conjunctions with sports? Many reference the fact that refs can be bias.

Then I'll ask: what are the factors that make referees biased? I wait for the responses.

Basically, this discussion proves that there are many reasons that sources and people can be biased. It is equally important to A. determine whether or not a source is biased, and then B. to ask ourselves why this might be. What are the ulterior motives?

Then, as a class, we construct our definition.

Whole Class Notes: What is Bias?

Recalling Author's Purpose: Whole Class Model

10 minutes

I draw upon the work we did in the previous lesson by asking if anyone recalls the author's purpose in the article we read the day before.

I point students back to the article "The Day My Son Went Missing," to remind them about how we read, highlighted, and annotated for author's purpose. I explain that today, we'll be finding the author's purpose in a new text. Students will be working with a Lexile buddy to determine the author's purpose.

I pass out the Finding Author's Purpose in a Text worksheet.

There is a place on the back for the teacher model. We will use the work we did yesterday in class to model how I determine appropriate words to describe the author's attitudes, plus find appropriate text evidence which forces the reader to infer. Text evidence and words that determine the purpose should match!

Here is the model using "The Day My Son Went Missing:" Teacher Model: Author's Attitudes + Text Evidence

Partner Work: Finding Author's Attitudes, Purpose, Bias

30 minutes

Finally, it is the student's turn. They will be using a Newsela article. I have split them into pairs using Lexile data and printed the appropriate article from Newsela (using student's Lexiles). Then they'll read the article aloud to one another, searching for author's purpose.

The article I used, "Math whiz kids with autism..." takes a different tone with the reader. I told my students it will be much harder to find the author's attitude, because unlike the previous article, this one is not written in the first person. This means the reader has to infer author's attitude and opinion.

Students will highlight and annotate together, just as I did in the model.

Student Sample: NEWSELA Annotations for Author's Purpose & Author's Purpose Worksheet

As kids work, I circulate and ask questions. Why are you highlighting that piece of text? What does that show us about the author?

Student Video:  Why Did You Highlight That Piece of Text?

Student Video:  Why Did You Highlight That As Evidence?