Essential Question for Unit 5: Essential Questions



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Introduction to Author’s Purpose and Perspective, Diction and Tone

Notes and Practice Activities

Essential Question for Unit 5:

Essential Questions: Why do writers write? How does a writer’s perspective affect their work? How do writers create tone by using specific diction? How do format and organization help readers understand a text’s purpose?

Before automobile engineers design a car and draft their blueprints, they need to understand the purpose for the proposed vehicle. Is it to safely transport cattle across the country? Haul kids and families to and from school? Win a NASCAR race? The purpose will determine each choice the engineer makes, from the design of the engine to the design of the car’s body. Just like engineers, authors carefully construct their texts with a specific purpose in mind.




Common Core Standards Included in this Workshop: RI. 3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them. RI.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone RI. 5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text RI..6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.


Section #1: Author’s Purpose
You can discover an author’s purpose by observing the decision the writer made. Every decision, from the subject and the tone to the particular words and other vital details, is a clue that can uncover the purpose. Another hint can be your reaction to what you read. For example, if you are convinced by an argument to fight for a cause, then the author’s central idea, or main argument, is probably that people should support that cause. Thus, the author’s principal purpose in this case is to persuade.



Author’s Purpose

Hints and Clues in the Writing

To inform or explain: Examples include encyclopedia or magazine articles, documentaries, instruction manuals, Web sites

-facts and statistics

-steps in a process

-diagrams or illustrated explanations


To Persuade or Convince: Examples include, editorials, TV ads, political speeches

-an assertion of opinion

-supporting evidence

-appeals to emotions

-a call to action



To Entertain: Examples include, short stories, novels, plays, humorous essays, movies

- enthralling or exciting situations

-humorous or interesting details

- fascinating characters


To Express Thoughts or Feelings: Examples include personal essays, poems, diaries, and journals.

-thoughtful descriptions

-insightful reflections

-the author’s personal feelings and introspective thoughts



Activity #1: Inform or explain

Writing that informs or explains typically leaves you feel more knowledgeable on the subject. As you read this article, look for hints that suggest its purpose.



Everyday Mysteries” From the Library of Congress

Spiders are able to spin sticky and non-sticky silk. They avoid walking on the sticky silk. In addition, spiders have moveable claws on their feet that grip and release the web’s threads as they walk.

Spiders are invertebrate creatures in the araneae order of the class arachnida in the phylum arthropoda. A spider has up to eight eyes, eight legs and seven silk-producing glands in its abdomen. These glands secrete proteins that are extruded through spinnerets to produce different kinds of silk. Many spiders, particularly orb, funnel, sheet and cob-weaving spiders, use this silk to build webs with which to catch prey.



The sticky, complex nets of silk used for the catching spiral are effective hunting tools, but have often made people wonder how the spiders themselves avoid entangling themselves in their own webs. Many people believe that spiders have special oils that repel the stickiness of their threads. This, however, has never been proven. Scientists are still not entirely certain how most spiders manage to avoid ending up ensnared in their own trap, but there are a few accepted theories. Spiders can spin different kinds of silk, and not all of their silk is sticky. In fact, in a spider web only the silk used for the intricate catching spirals are dotted with glue, so spiders know which threads to avoid. In addition to producing different kinds of silk, web-spinning spiders also have an extra set of claws on their feet. All spiders have two claws on their feet; web-spinning ones have three. These claws are used to grasp threads and provide traction as the spider moves along.

This spider has decorated its web to attract more prey. Photo from the National Park Service Web site. Read more about these "home decorators" in this article on the National Geographic Home page: Artistic" Spiders Trap Prey With Light, Study Finds.

Close Read Questions
What words or phrases suggest that this is an informative article? Provide two examples from the first two paragraphs.

Identify one other important detail from the third paragraph that suggests the author’s purpose is to inform or explain. How does this detail advance the author’s purpose?


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