teaching resource

Author's Purpose Sorting Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Grades: 2 - 3

In this author's purpose activity, students will sort 20 phrase cards into groups by identifying whether the text is meant to inform, persuade, or entertain.

From novels to plays, advertisements to op-eds, owners manuals to help desk articles, there is no shortage of things to read every day. But when you boil it down, there are just 3 reasons for an author to create a piece of text. Whether it’s to…

  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Entertain

…we can determine the author’s purpose by considering their message and the intended audience it was created for.

In this activity, students will read through 20 phrase cards. By examining context clues in the writing, players will sort each card into the 3 types of author’s purpose—inform, persuade, entertain.

All About Our Author’s Purpose Activity

This resource can be used as an individual reading center activity or with a guided small group to practice how to find the author’s purpose in writing. Students will sort the short text examples by either their intent to persuade, entertain, or inform. Then, players will write their answers on the recording sheet provided.

Extend Our Author’s Purpose Activity with More Ways to Play!

We can think of a few different opportunities to take this sorting activity to another level.

Gallery Walk

Looking for a way to use this resource as a whole class? Mix the cards up and hang them around the room to have your students complete a gallery walk. Working either alone or in pairs, assign a sorting card to each and have them rotate around the cards (on your signal), writing their answers on the recording sheet until they have completed each one.

Be the Author

After sorting each short text example to the correct author’s purpose, students can write their own short text example with an author’s purpose for each of the three categories: to entertain, inform, and persuade.

Mirror Game

This activity is a spin on the classic “Newlywed Game” and works best with small groups because you’ll need enough dry erase boards and markers for each student. Divide the students into 2 groups and have them sit down in 2 lines facing each other. The teacher will recite one phrase at a time from each of the task cards and give students 10 seconds to write on their board whether the writer’s purpose is to Inform, Persuade, or Entertain (I, E, P can stand in to represent the full word if necessary). On your cue, the students will turn their boards around so their partner can see their answers. If both students in a pair have the correct answer, they get 2 points. If one has the correct answer, the team gets 1 point.

Change the Difficulty Level if Needed

Have students closely read the short text, looking for and highlighting/underlining words or phrases that give context clues about what the author’s purpose is. For example, in a short advertisement text, students may highlight action words or command sentences that would guide the students to understanding the author’s purpose was to persuade.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the task cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity.

For a center activity, cut out the task cards and punch a hole in the corner of each to place them on a binder ring. Print extra copies of the recording sheet (or print a few recording sheets on cardstock and cover each with a dry erase sleeve for reuse). Place everything in a folder or large envelope.

To print only the recording sheet on regular paper:

  1. Select “File” from the navigation bar, and click “Print” from the drop-down menu
  2. From the Print dialog box that pops up, click on “More settings”
  3. Pages per sheet should be set to “1”
  4. Leave the box empty next to “Print on both sides”
  5. Click “Print using system dialog”
  6. On the pop-up, deselect “Two-Sided”
  7. Under Pages, select From and enter pages 2 to 2
  8. Click the “Print” button

Before You Download

Please note this resource is available in Google Slides or as a PDF. A recording sheet and answer key are also included with this download.

This resource was created by Allie Kleijnjans, a teacher in Pennsylvania and a Teach Starter Collaborator.


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