SOS: There’s an A.P.P for That

Welcome to  Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

There’s an A.P.P. for That
PDF Version

Authors and audiences both have a wide range of purposes for communicating. The importance of purpose in reading text based situations cannot be overstated. It is the varied purposes of a situation that determine how an author communicates a text and how audiences receive a text. Authors rarely have only one purpose. In addition, authors and audiences tend to bring their own purposes (and often multiple purposes each) to a situation, and these purposes may conflict or complement each other depending on the efforts of both authors and audiences.

Further, students need to understand that author’s purpose goes well beyond PIE:  to persuade, to inform, to entertain.  There are many other purposes, such as: to describe, to convince, to define, to influence, to review, to argue, to notify, to recommend, to instruct, to change, to advise, to advocate, to announce, to urge, to explain, to defend, to demonstrate, to justify, to illustrate, and to support (Johnson-Sheehan & Paine 17).  Discerning the differences and the reasons behind various author’s purposes is important in student comprehension and critical thinking related to the texts.

Using a three column chart, students scaffold their thinking and draw conclusions to answer the following questions:

  • How can the reader use the text features to determine why the text was written?
  • How can we use inductive reasoning to determine the author’s purpose?
  • How do readers identify the author’s purpose in a text?


  • In this example, students will analyze a digital reading passage. Utilizing a simple strategy:  A.P.P. to organize and focus their thinking
    • A = Author’s Purpose
    • P = Prove It
    • P = Partner Up
  • Students will first read the digital reading passage, Man on the Moon.  Either printed out or digitally, students can highlight or jot notes down about the author’s purpose, citing specific examples from the text to support their answers.
  • Using the information gathered, students will complete the first two columns (Author’s Purpose and Prove It!) of their “There’s an A.P.P. for That” graphic organizer.
  • Then, students will partner up to discuss their reasoning, thinking, and analyzation.  If their partner has information that the other may have missed, students need to write the shared information in the Partner Up column.
  • Share out ideas as a class.
  • Sample student responses:
    • Author’s Purpose:  The author’s purpose in “Man on the Moon” is to inform readers about a first hand account of walking on the moon.  The author wants to describe what it feels like landing on the moon, instead of just listing     facts about the moon.
    • Prove It:  The dialogue in the article has the astronauts (Neil Armstrong) in action, which shows instead of tells     us what landing on the moon is like.  It is like listening to a live news show where someone lands on the moon. You can tell with this information that the author wants to inform readers of landing on the moon from a 1st person perspective.
    • Partner Up:  My partner pointed out that the author’s purpose was to illustrate the difference between a 1st hand account vs a 2nd hand account.  This is true because the author uses actual dialogue and descriptions about the moon rocks from the astronauts who were there, rather than a scientist who has never been to the moon.


  • To make this task more rigorous, add an additional media type about the same topic, but with a different author’s purpose.  A good example would be using the video segment, Characteristics of the Moon.  Follow the same protocol as the reading passage with the A.P.P. Graphic Organizer.  Then, have students compare/contrast the author’s purpose for similar content.
  • The A.P.P. graphic organizer can be used for both informational and literary texts.  Find a literary (fiction) text about specific content, and find an informational piece on the same content, use the A.P.P. organizer, and compare/contrast author’s purpose across genres in the same content area.

You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategies in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event anytime 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flier and distributing it in your colleague’s boxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

To see other strategies in this series click here.  For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.


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  1. Jane Chambers said:

    Well done APP – simple and sublime.

  2. Bradley Vance said:

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