Personal tools

Introduce: Purpose for Reading

From FreeReading

Jump to: navigation, search
Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given a nonfiction book, students will be able to determine a good purpose for reading it using textual clues and background knowledge.

Materials: A nonfiction book to read out loud, chart paper or board

What to Do


Choose a nonfiction book that appeals to early readers.


1. Show students the book (the front cover, back cover, and some of the pages) and ask them to predict what the book will be about. Ask them why they think they will be reading this book.

Today we are going to read a book entitled _____________________ by ________________. Why do you think we are reading this book? What is our reason for reading this book? What do you think we will learn from this book?

2. Record the students’ comments on chart paper or board.

3. Explain the meaning of setting a purpose for reading.

When you think about why you are reading a book before you start reading, you are giving yourself a purpose for reading. You are preparing yourself for what you will read. When you prepare to read a fiction story, you can get ready to be entertained. When you read a nonfiction text, your purpose is to learn something, so you want to be ready to learn before you start reading.

4. Give examples of the ways students have already used strategies to give themselves a purpose for reading different texts.

When you get ready to do an assignment, what is your purpose? Have you ever set a purpose for watching a television show or listening to a song? Have you ever set a purpose for learning something and then learned how to do it?

5. Read the first half of the book, pausing at appropriate places to point out details that confirm the purpose that students have given themselves.


6. Stop reading just before some important information.

Let’s talk about what we have learned so far and see if we can give ourselves a purpose as we read the rest of the book. Remember that setting a purpose tells us what to look for when we read. What do we know about the book so far? What information do we have and what are we still missing?

7. Record students’ comments and purposes on the chart paper or board.

8. Finish reading the book.

9. Check and confirm purposes using the information from the chart paper or board.

Now let’s look back at our purpose. Our purpose was to __________. It looks like we were able to gather some good information about our topic. When you set a purpose, you think about the book before you start reading. So, when you are reading, you are able to focus better. Setting a purpose for reading helps us to understand books better.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to set a specific purpose (i.e., to find the main idea, to determine the meaning of a new vocabulary word, etc.) and read the book again with the new purpose in mind.

For Struggling Students:

Some students may have difficulty setting a purpose for reading by looking at the book. In this case it is helpful to ask them questions about the book.

Who or what do you see on the cover? What does the cover make you think of? What does the title make you think of? What do you know about this type of book? What is a reason for reading this book?

For ELL Students:

Before reading the book, explain the meaning of any key vocabulary or concepts. Use the questions above to guide your discussion on reading with purpose.

Related activities