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3 Reading Comprehension Strategies to Teach Author’s Purpose


Children reading at a tableAnalyzing texts and determining an author’s purpose is an important reading comprehension strategy for students to develop in our information-filled society. Teach your students to identify an author’s purpose by focusing on recognizing the text structure and determining important information.

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1. Structure of the text

Help students draw conclusions about an author’s purpose by identifying transitions and text structures. Discuss with students that authors put their ideas in a special order, and good readers figure out how the author organized the text. To understand a text’s organization, the reader needs to pay attention to words the author uses.

Organization of Text Key Words and Phrases to Look for
Cause and Effect Because, so, if, then, before, after
Sequence First, second, third, next, then, after, before, last, finally
Compare and Contrast Like, alike, both, but, different, however, too
Main Idea and Details For example, also, one reason is, for instance, most likely
Question and Answer Who, what, where, when, why, how

This visual is taken from Daily Reading Comprehension.

2. Determine Important Information

Teach students to identify the relevant parts of the text that reflect the author’s purpose by asking three questions. By determining important information, students are able to better identify the author’s intent.

Why are you reading?

  • Are you trying to get information to answer a question? To write a report? Look for words that are big or in bold type.
What information are you looking for?

  • Find information that answers a question. Read the topic sentence and sentences that tell about pictures.
What things are about the main topic?

  • Do you see key words about the topic? Identify details that are not as important for understanding the main topic. Do not focus on sentences that are not about the main idea.

This visual is taken from Daily Reading Comprehension.

3.Determine why the author wrote this.

Explain to students that authors always have a purpose for writing a text. By analyzing the text’s structure and important information, they can identify the author’s purpose.

Author's Purpose Reading Chart

This chart is taken from Reading Comprehension Fundamentals.

These strategies are taken from Evan-Moor’s Daily Reading Comprehension and Reading Comprehension Fundamentals. Designed to work together, these reading resources offer a systematic and comprehensive approach to teaching reading comprehension strategies and help you reinforce comprehension skills with which students are struggling.

Reading comprehension workbookPin Reading Comprehension Fundamentals. 









Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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