This page provides information to support educators and families when teaching K-3 students about Author’s Purpose. It is designed to complement the Author’s Purpose topic on BrainPOP Jr.  

Understanding the author’s purpose can help children read critically and draw meaning from a piece of writing. Remind children that a purpose is why something is done. So, an author’s purpose is why an author writes something. Ask, why might an author write something? It could be to persuade, to inform, or to entertain the reader. We recommend checking out our other writing movies, including Facts and Opinions, How-To Essay, and Writing with the Senses

Review with children that we can use the acronym PIE to remember three common author’s purposes: persuade, inform, and entertain. When writers want to persuade, they want to convince someone to believe, do, or stop doing something. Perhaps they even want you to buy something. What have your students tried to persuade their parents, a teacher, or a caregiver to do? Were they successful? When an author’s purpose is to persuade, our job as readers is to figure out what the writer wants us to do, think, or change. Then, we decide whether they’ve convinced us or not. 


How can students tell if the author’s purpose is to inform? Review that when you inform, you give information. So, an author’s purpose might be to inform and share facts that we can understand and learn. Newspapers, textbooks, and guidebooks all inform readers about a subject or topic. When students realize that an author’s purpose is to inform, they should pay attention to definitions, illustrations, examples, graphs, and descriptions in the writing. They give information that will help us understand a subject.  


How can students tell if an author wants to entertain? Remind students that when you entertain, you bring joy or interest. Think of fiction stories that make a reader laugh or smile and want to know what will happen next. Books, short stories, poems, and songs all can entertain—and so can jokes. Sometimes, though, people are entertained by ghost stories or even by something that’s a little sad. That’s because, when an author entertains, they make us feel different emotions. Ask students what their favorite story is, and what emotions they feel when they read it.


When students understand that an author’s purpose is to entertain, they should pay attention to the characters, the setting, and the plot of the story. What is the theme, or message, of the writing? Remind children that an author can have several purposes in the same piece of writing. For example, an author’s purpose might be to entertain but also inform, as with BrainPOP movies. 

Whenever students read, they should think about the author’s purpose. It will help them to understand and enjoy the writing more. Thinking about the author’s purpose will also make them better writers when they have a story to tell, or want to persuade or inform someone about something.