When you think about the author’s purpose, you ask yourself, “Why did the author write this text?” As you begin reading explanatory text, you will continue to think about the author’s purpose and notice how the author is organizing the information. When selecting a text structure, authors think about how to present the key ideas in order to support the most important point they want to make. Authors also carefully choose their words in order to make an impact on their reader in ways that aligns with their purpose.
Explore the slideshow below to learn strategies for analyzing the author’s purpose as related to explanatory writing.
Analyzing the Author’s Purpose
Sometimes the author’s purpose is directly stated in a text. More often though, readers will have to infer, or draw a logical conclusion based on the details presented, in order to determine the author’s purpose.
The purpose of a text is supported by text structure, word choice and the relationship between key ideas. Readers can look to these elements for clues that reveal the author’s purpose.
The text structure for an explanation can be sequence or chronological order, description, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and/or problem and solution.
Word choice also supports the author’s purpose. When explaining information, an author chooses words that are intended to have an impact on the reader. An author often creates emphasis by choosing words that show the significance or importance of the information being explained. These strategic word choices ultimately reveal the author’s purpose as the topic or concept is explained by the author.
The relationship between key ideas and details also supports the author’s purpose. An author may begin a text with key ideas and details that describe how a species became extinct.
As the text develops, the author may introduce ideas about what people can do to prevent extinction. By first discussing the causes of extinction, and then discussing what people can do to help, the author provides support for convincing the reader to participate in particular conservation efforts.
Authors write for different reasons. The text structure, word choice and relationship between key ideas and details all work intentionally together to support the author’s purpose. A reader needs to examine these elements to analyze the author’s purpose.
Now that you know how to analyze the author’s purpose, go to the following page to explore an example of how this is done.