Author’s Purpose Performance Task

Wildwood’s literary focus of November and December is author’s purpose, so I used some of the ideas I got from our district’s Standards-Based Assessment team.

For the fiction task, students are picture book publishers trying to convince elementary school teachers to purchase books for their lessons. For the nonfiction task, students are interns at National Geographic trying to score a top photographer to shoot images for a new nonfiction text. Students have a variety of ways to show their understanding of both the surface-level author’s purpose as well as their deeper themes or messages.

I designed this assessment for my 2nd/3rd GATE class, but I think it could be modified for 4th and 5th grade just by changing the text grade levels. I’m basing the end-of-the-year Fountas & Pinnell grade levels off district standards, with an eye toward our future adoption of Common Core Standards. If your students aren’t ready to be assessed at the end-of-the-year reading level, no worries — just give them more appropriate texts.

Here are the books I’m using for the fiction task. I picked books we had multiple copies of in our school library, so I could get a few extra copies checked out from the public library and then have enough for my whole class.

2nd (Guided Reading Level L-M)

  • Alexander, who’s not (do you hear me? I mean it!) going to move, Judith Viorst (M)
  • Barn Dance!, Bill Martin (L)
  • A Chair for my Mother, Vera B. Williams (M)
  • Cinderella’s Rat, Susan Meddaugh (L)
  • Galimoto, Karen Lynn Williams (M)

3rd (Guided Reading Level O-P)

  • Animal Snackers, Betsy Lewin (O)
  • A Bad Case of Stripes, David Shannon (P)
  • Legend of the Bluebonnet, Tomie DePaola (O)
  • Mrs. Katz and Tush, Patricia Polacco (P)
  • Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt, Lisa Campbell Ernst (P)

4th grade would use level S-T, and 5th grade would use U-V.

There are rubrics included with both the fiction and the nonfiction tasks. Download and enjoy; I always appreciate comments and feedback!

Author’s Purpose Fiction Performance Task — Book Publisher

Author’s Purpose Nonfiction Performance Task — National Geographic