30 Picture Books for Teaching Author's Purpose
Teach different reasons why an author may write a book and help your students develop a deeper understanding of a text. Also, explore a list of books for teaching author’s purpose.
Teaching Author's Purpose
Teaching about an author’s purpose helps your students understand why an author wrote what they did. The three most common reasons are persuade, inform, and entertain. However, an author may have multiple reasons for writing a book and children need to identify this.
Get your students to think critically about the different ways authors use the text, and that authors will have a bias to their writing.
Persuade: The text is trying to convince the reader of something. The reader may come across facts, reasons, statistics, or the author stating why they believe something. They need to think whether the author is trying to convince them of something or change their opinion on the topic.
Inform: The text is helping the reader learn something or make an informed decision. It could include the words teach, state, tell, explain, or inform. These words also warn the reader they may have to analyze what they have learned.
Entertain: Unlike persuade and inform, entertaining text doesn’t have specific words to look out for. What is more important is the way an author writes. For example, using fun words, punctuation, onomatopoeia, descriptive language, alongside interesting characters and settings, attractive illustrations and an interesting plot.
Once your students have a good understanding of how to identify an author’s purpose they can transfer this knowledge to their writing.
Picture Books for Teaching Author's Purpose
You can use any book to teach author’s purpose. I have picked a selection of books you probably have in your classroom, as well as a few new ones for you to explore.
Alan Turing by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
Manjhi Moves a Mountain by Nancy Churnin
Michael Rosen's Sad Book by Michael Rosen
Ojiichan's Gift by Chieri Uegaki
One Small Island by Alison Lester
Pigs Make Me Sneeze! by Mo Willems
Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker
The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp
The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith
Author's Purpose Questions
Ask your students to answer the following statements so they become familiar with thinking about the author’s purpose as they are reading.
The author’s purpose was _____
The author wants me _____
The author wants me to learn _____
The author’s purpose was _____ because the text said _____
Finally, here are a couple of videos that introduce the concept of author’s purpose.
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