An author's purpose is the author's reason for writing. When you ask yourself why an author wrote a specific text, you are asking about the author's purpose. Often author's write to entertain, to inform, or to persuade. Another common reason is to give instructions or to tell readers how to make or do something. Sometimes an author may have more than one purpose.
A few days ago when visiting a third grade classroom in my building, I saw a creative idea for teaching author's purpose. Our reading teacher, Mrs. Breuer, took a paper plate and divided it into three slices. She wrote the letters PIE on the plate, one in each triangle. This was to help her students remember the three most common reasons for writing: to Persuade, to Inform, and to Entertain. Her students then wrote clue words in each area to help them identify the purpose. For example, in the slice that says "Persuade", the child wrote: convince, argue, influence, sway, or plead. This PIE plate served as a visual for the children and gave them something to attach their learning to. This Parent Pipeline will help parents understand and reinforce the strategy of determining author's purpose as their child reads at home.