Author's Intent

On the CRT, you may be asked to read a passage and then state for what purpose the author seems to be writing. To persuade? To entertain? To inform? To express?

Author’s purpose is the reason or reasons an author has for writing a selection. If readers enjoyed what they read, one of the author’s purposes may have been to entertain. If students learn while they are reading, one of the author’s purposes may have been to inform. If readers changed the way they thought about a topic or issue, one of the author’s purposes may have been to persuade. As we study poetry in this unit, we will find that often the author's purpose is simply to express or to describe. Authors may have more than one purpose for writing. Author’s purpose can be stated explicitly or readers may have to infer the intent.

Reflective readers are able to analyze information more thoughtfully when they know an author’s purpose. Identifying an author’s purpose may give clues to a reader for how to pace their reading. Informational articles may require a reader to slow down in order to fully understand ideas described. Persuasive writing requires an added measure of skepticism, such as when the passage suggests that dogs make better pets than cats or when an advertisement for cereal tells them that its brand has 100% more of the daily requirement of nutrients than Brand X.

Here are some examples of writing to persuade:
  • your Timed Essay on human nature
  • TV advertisements for toys, food, or services
  • newspaper or magazine advertisements for food, clothing, or services
  • articles telling readers the author’s opinion
  • articles written to convince readers to take an action

Sometimes the author writes to inform the reader. Here are some example of informative writing.
  • a list of classroom rules
  • the biography of Abraham Lincoln
  • a brief history of Ancient Egypt

Many of the things we read are written to entertain. For example:
  • the titles of their chapter or trade books
  • the titles of stories in their reading books
  • funny rhymes or poems

When trying to determine an author’s purpose, ask yourself these questions:
  • Based on the title, why do think the author wrote this selection?
  • Which words do you think best describe the main reason the author wrote this selection: to provide readers with information? To describe a person, event, or issue? To express their own thoughts and feelings? To persuade readers to think about an issue in a certain way and to take action? Or to entertain the reader?
  • Why did the author write the article from a particular point of view?
  • How did the author influence your response to the selection?
  • Was the author’s purpose specifically stated?
  • Do you think that the author achieved his/her intended purposes? Did the article effectively give information? Entertain readers? Express the author’s thoughts and feelings? Persuade readers to think about an issue and/or take action?
  • What examples from the text support your conclusions about author’s purpose?


Last modified: Thursday, 14 June 2012, 4:19 PM