Teaching Resource

Author's Purpose SORT IT!

PDF, Google Slides | 13 pages|Grades: 2 - 3

Analyze 24 text examples and determine which of the 5 purposes of writing each of the sorting cards belongs to.

What are the purposes of writing?

With our sorting activity, students will evaluate text to determine which of the 5 different purposes of writing best describes the author’s intent: 

  • Persuade 
  • Inform
  • Entertain
  • Explain
  • Describe

Sort Text into the 5 Purposes of Writing

This resource is best used in your classroom reading center or guided reading group to practice identifying the author’s purpose. The students can work independently or in pairs to sort the cards by their text in 5 categories depending on the author’s intent: persuade, inform, entertain, explain, or describe. Students can check their answers on the answer key included.

More Ways to Explore the Different Purposes of Writing

We thought of a few extra opportunities to take this sorting activity to a whole other level!

Whole-Class “Scoot” Activity

Place the playing cards around the room in numerical order and give each student a recording sheet. Assign each student a number to start. Give students an appropriate amount of time to read the card and determine the author’s purpose, and then say, “SCOOT.” At this time, the students will rotate to the next card. Continue in this manner until students have made it through all of the cards.  

Human Card Sorting

With your whole class, provide each student with a card from the deck. Challenge the students to find their author’s purpose team’; that is, they must gather in a group with all the other students who have the same type of card as them. For an extra challenge, make the activity a race, or ask the students to complete the task in silence!

Test Prep or Class Review

You can easily turn this game into a review session at the end of your lesson, or right before a test to give students some extra practice. Read the cards in order 1-24 out loud to your class, and ask them to write the author’s purpose in the corresponding space on their recording sheet. It would be helpful to project the names and definitions of each text type using your smartboard or other projection devices. Hearing the text out loud will help clue students in on important clues to help narrow down which of the 5 purposes of writing the text sample applies to. 

Purposes of Writing Scaffolding & Extension Tips

After sorting the cards, students can extend learning by writing a reason for why they identified a card as fitting the author’s purpose. They can also write their own cards for their classmates to determine the author’s purpose. 

For students having difficulty, we’ve included an option to sort a card into an “I need help deciding the author’s purpose” category so a classmate or the teacher can talk through the text and options with them. 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the task cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity. To make this game more sustainable, print a few recording sheets on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. Students can record their answers with a dry-erase marker, then erase and reuse.

Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. A recording sheet and answer key are also included with this download.

This resource was created by Kirstin Sowers, a teacher in Illinois and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 

Looking for more author’s purpose & craft activities for your classroom? We’ve got you covered!


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

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