Author’s Purpose Three Teaching Activities

Free Author's Purpose Activities

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 Author’s Purpose Activity 1 below. And who doesn’t love eating doughnuts? See Activity 3.

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 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

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.

Common Core Standards

Author's Purpose Anchor Chart

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

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1.a
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.1.a
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.10
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.4
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.10
  • Here are three activities I like to incorporate into my Author’s Purpose Unit.

Activity 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

Doughnut Writing Project with Different Purposes

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 the 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 on 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 worldwide. In the U.S. over 4,400 Dunkin Donut stores are located across 36 states.

American’s favorite flavor of doughnuts 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 the 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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1 comment

    • Lee on June 12, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Every one of your resources are stimulating, challenging and well presented. Many thanks for your dedication.

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