Tag: Writing

Writing for an Audience

Writing for an Audience

Common Core

Teaching students to write for a specific audience is on the Common Core State Writing Standards beginning in third grade:

In studying the standards, I have found that as students become older, writing to the audience shows up even more frequently in the standards as you can see from the list above.

Students tend to catch on to this idea very quickly by just getting them to just take notice. Here are three activities I have used in the classroom to help students begin to think about writing for a specific group of people:

Activity 1 – Brainstorm

I like to begin a lesson on “Writing for an Audience” by asking students to brainstorm a list of people whom they could write. Students will surprise you with their answers. You will receive names of famous sports athletes, movie stars, musicians all the way to names of friends and family members. I list these as they are named by category:

  • friend
  • adult
  • President of the United States
  • famous athlete
  • president of a company
  • and so on

After the names are listed, I simply ask a series of questions to get students to think. I want students to determine if a letter to this person should be formal or informal.

Activity 2 – Name the Audience

Students name who the intended audience is for a the snippet of text.

You can download this activity free as a PowerPoint or card activity. Just click the image of your preference.

Get Printable Here.

Name the Audience Activity Card Activity

Get PowerPoint Here.

Name the Audience PowerPoint

Activity 3 – Foldable Staggered Flip Organizer

I love for my students to have reference materials to use as a guide in their interactive notebooks. This staggered flip graphic organizer is a free download. Just click on the image below:My Audience Staggered Flip Organizer

You may also be interested in this Author’s Purpose Lesson.

Free Activities to use with Teaching Writing for a Specific Audience

Gay Miller


Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=317

Author’s Purpose Three Teaching Activities

Author’s PurposeAuthor's Purpose Free Lesson Plan including Foldable Organizers

Common Core Standards

Teaching students to write for a specific purpose is one of my favorite skills to teach. Students enjoy drawing sketches that illustrate different writing purposes. See Activity 1 below. And who doesn’t love eating doughnuts? See Activity 3.

Teaching students to write for a specific purpose is found in the Common Core State Writing Standards:

Here are three activities I like to incorporate into my Author’s Purpose Unit.

Activity 1 – Foldable Graphic Organizers

Students love creating foldable graphic organizers. This one is especially fun. Students get to illustrate each author’s purpose on the front flaps. The four-door flip organizer is a great fit for going over definitions and rules for the different purposes. I teach this skill as quick mini lessons over four consecutive days. To begin, I go over just two purposes a day. In four days, the organizers are complete.  You can download a free version of this lesson at Teachers Pay Teachers

Author's Purpose Organizer

This is an inside view answer key of the organizer. It is included in the download. To differentiate instruction, you can print the answer key for some students. Other students can write their own definitions and examples.

Author's Purpose Foldable Organizer - Inside View

Author's Purpose Graphic OrganizerHere again, this is the inside view answer key of the organizer. Author's Purpose Foldable Organizer Inside ViewActivity 2 – Practice

After creating the organizers, students need to apply the skill. Matching cards with purposes, definitions, and examples is a great small group or partner activity. These cards are included in the free Author’s Purpose Unit.

Author's Purpose - Matching ActivityI follow the matching activity with first oral then written practice. Students must identify which purpose each example illustrates. You may download the PowerPoint I used for this lesson here.

Note: The standards listed in the PowerPoint are Tennessee Standards. You may wish to change them to your state standards or the Common Core State Standards.

Author's Purpose PowerPoint

Activity 3 – Writing with a Specific Purpose

After going over examples, I have my students write. Here is an example lesson idea…

I brought in doughnuts. Doughnuts were placed on a plate in the center of the student’s desks. The doughnuts were inspiration for the activity. Once the writing was over the students ate the.

Strips of paper with the following writing prompts were placed in a hat. 

  • Persuade me to buy doughnuts.
  • Write information about doughnuts.
  • Entertain me with a story about doughnuts.
  • Share feelings about an experience you had with doughnuts.
  • Describe the doughnuts using a passage full of imagery.

Students drew a writing purpose for a hat. Each student was required to write at least a half page persuasive essay on the writing prompt.

Student Examples

Persuade by Kristina

You are persuaded to buy donuts when you are watching a TV commercial like this one.

Go to Krispie Kreme for a fantastic doughnut. They have the yummiest and moist donuts in the whole world. For just $1.00 you can get four delicious, chocolaty, marvelous treats. Come on down, and I’ll see you there.

Entertain by Ryan

Have you ever seen Chicago covered with bits of doughnuts? I have. Here’s what happened. I was walking out of the Trump Building with my friend Ty. All of a sudden a missile flew by my head. I ran as fast as a Lamborghini to hide behind a parked car. I peeked around the car to see a doughnut trunk. Out of the back of the truck was the cannon that had shot the missile. The army and marines drove towards the doughnut truck. A small group of marines aimed their gun barrel at the doughnut truck and shot a missile. Pieces of donuts flew everywhere.

Describe by Cassie

I was jubilant to go to Krispie Kreme to have my birthday party. Just thinking about the doughnuts made my stomach growl. When I walked into the shop, the delicious smell made me anxious to gobble them up. As I looked into the case, I saw millions of doughnuts. Some were yellow with lemon jelly inside. Others were chocolate with multicolored sprinkles. Glazed, strawberry, cake style, and twisted doughnuts made my mouth water. After an hour of contemplating, I chose strawberry. As I inhaled the luscious scent, I couldn’t think straight. The sticky, squishy icing smeared all over my fingers as I put it to my mouth. It was the most wonderful thing I have ever tasted. Donuts rule!

Inform by Christina

Americans love doughnuts so much that they have created a special day to remember doughnuts. National Donut Day is celebrated the first Friday in June.

A lot of people eat doughnuts. Dunkin Donuts is the largest doughnut chain with 6,000 stores in 30 countries world-wide. In the U.S. over 4,400 Dunkin Donut stores are located across 36 states.

American’s favorite flavor of doughnut is glazed. Other popular flavors include chocolate, powdered sugar, and plain.

Share Experience by Emma

I loved going to Ginny’s Doughnut Shop every morning for breakfast. Just walking in the shop made me feel like a rainbow of happiness. I loved the chocolate or raspberry filled the best. When I would bite into the doughnuts my mouth would water. The warm and tasty feeling was better than skateboarding. The taste was golden in my mouth.

Bulletin Board

I take many photos of the students writing, eating, and just enjoying doughnuts. The photos along with the students’ writings make a terrific bulletin board.

Get the Free Printables.

You can download the entire lesson with printables free at Teachers Pay Teachers. Please note that the printable lesson and the PowerPoint are not exact matches. This is because I created the unit to use in my classroom without plans for sharing. Also, I had to remove copyright sensitive information before placing the unit on Teachers Pay Teachers. Later I went through the PowerPoint and removed information, so that I could share it as well. If you wish to use the two together, I think you can do so by just adding or taking away information in a few places.

I hope your class enjoys studying author’s purpose as much as we did!!

Three Activities to Teach Writing with a Specific Purpose including free printables and PowerPoint activites

Gay Miller


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Show, Don’t Tell

Show, Don’t Tell

The Show, Don’t Tell method of writing is when the writer is able to create a picture in the reader’s mind. 

  1. Details

    One key element of this method is the use of details.


The girl went to the beach.
Sally went to Ocean Isle Beach.
Last summer, young Sally went to Ocean Isle Beach on the coast of North Carolina with her family.
During the hottest part of the summer, ten year old Sally went to Ocean Isle Beach on the coast of North Carolina with her parents and two younger sisters.
  1.  Rich Vocabulary

    A second element is the use of rich vocabulary. The writer gets away from the repetition of empty words like went, big, or said and instead uses rich descriptions which makes the reader feel as if s/he is part of the story. Click on the mini poster below to receive a pdf version you may display in the classroom.

 Said is Dead Poster

Here is the anchor chart that I completed with my students to help them think about using more descriptive words:

Descriptive Words Anchor Chart

  1. Action Words

    Another important aspect of Show, Don’t tell is the use of action words, thoughts, senses, and feelings. One helpful way for students to understand this concept is to read selections from favorite books. Here is a PowerPoint with several selections from Where the Red Fern Grows. Click the image to download to the PowerPoint.

Show, Don't Tell PowerPoint Presentation

Online Resources

Some online resources for Show, Don’t Tell include:

Gay Miller


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