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Explore the slideshow below to learn how to identify the author's purpose and analyze how the text structure serves the author's overall purpose. You will learn how to determine the relationship among certain major sections and draw conclusions about how that relationship adds to the growth of the author's purpose within the whole text. Finally, you will evaluate the effectiveness of the author's choice of structure in presenting the information.

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Author's Purpose and Text Structure

illustration showing term central idea

Begin by reading the text and thinking about the author's purpose. Ask yourself:

  • What does the author want me to understand?
  • What is the central idea in the article?
  • What is the most important information to be gained from reading?
collage of icons

Authors choose the text structure(s) to serve their overall purpose. Therefore, it is important for readers to be able to identify the various text structures that authors choose. These structures include:

  • Sequence or Chronology
  • Description
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Cause and Effect and
  • Problem and Solution
boy reading book

As you continue reading, think about how the author's purpose is unfolding. Ask yourself about the structure(s) the author is choosing:

  • What is the structure of this section?
  • What is the purpose of this section?
purpose and conclusion

Draw conclusions about how the relationship among the major sections adds to the growth of the author's purpose within the whole text. Ask yourself:

  • How does the purpose of a particular section fit the overall purpose of the article?
  • How is the author choosing to organize the information within the major sections to serve the overall purpose?
how and why

Evaluate the effectiveness of the structure in presenting the information. When you evaluate a text, you are critiquing HOW and WHY the author chose the text structure. Follow these steps:

  • Make a claim that expresses your evaluation of the choice.
  • Justify your claim with examples from the text.

In your examples, you will need to prove your understanding of the text structure and author's purpose as it relates to the major sections of the text and the overall text.