A photograph of a group of campers getting ready to go canoeing.

Source: Camp Provides Safe Summer Fun for Kids With Asthma, Christiana Care, Flickr

You are bombarded daily with so much information that sifting through it all is almost impossible. Much of the information from social media, the Internet, and other media is easily ignored. However, you also have access to much information that is helpful but sometimes contradictory, so how do you make decisions about the information that is most helpful? What if you want to learn something new? For example, what if you need a workout routine that’s right for your fitness level, or you want to make a video about an issue at school, or you need information to know how to vote for a candidate in an election? How do you make the best decision?

A poster showing why author’s write. It is divided into three sections: Persuade, Entertain, and Inform.

Source: Learning Focused Classrooms, Judy Baxter, Flickr

This lesson is about being able to identify the author’s purpose in a specific text. Specifically, it’s about looking at several authors’ works on the same topic and analyzing how each author achieved his or her purpose for writing, even if those purposes are different.

When writers set pens to paper or poise fingertips above a keyboard, they have to have a purpose for writing. Knowing the purpose comes before the writing. Your job as a reader then is to involve yourself in the author’s writing so that you recognize the purpose for writing and make decisions about the information you are reading. In other words, does the text give you the best information for your purposes?