Argumentation: Identifying an Author's Purpose

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SWBAT determine an author's purpose(s) in a text by analyzing how the author uses rhetoric to advance that purpose.

Big Idea

Can an author have more than one purpose in writing a text?

Warm up and mini lesson

15 minutes

Part of writing and reading argumentation is understanding author's purpose.  When a student can clearly identify the author's purpose(s) (RI.9-10.6),  in a text, it helps the students clearly express their purpose in their own writing (W.9-10.4). A few years ago, my student teacher, Rachael Zimmerman, developed this lesson and it is great!   First, I will distribute copies of Diane Ackerman's, "Why Leaves Turn Color In The Fall."  I will explain to students that we are going to read this informative text and identify all of her purposes for writing it.  We read the text aloud. 

Please view this Why I use this super awesome text video.   

Student Work Time

25 minutes

I distribute the Author's Purpose Worksheet and tell students to work through the text, paragraph by paragraph identifying her purpose in that paragraph.  If they say her paragraph is to inform, they must list the textual evidence that proves that to be true (RI.9-10.1, W.9-10.9).  As students work, they will understand that the author has multiple purposes in the text.  She writes to inform, persuade, and even to entertain in certain areas. 


5 minutes

To end class, I'll ask students to write a short response telling me what they learned by analyzing this text today.  I'm looking for students to understand that often an author can have multiple purposes in their text and sometimes those purposes are "hidden."