Activities to Teach Students to Identify the Author’s Purpose: Mixed Media

As students engage in reading various texts, it is important for them to grasp the idea behind the author’s intention. Identifying the author’s purpose is an essential skill in comprehending the text’s meaning and the context surrounding it, whether it is a piece of fiction or non-fiction. However, this skill does not always come naturally to students, and it is vital to train them in recognizing the purpose of different texts. Using mixed media, educators can create a diverse range of activities to support students in this pursuit.

What is Mixed Media?

Mixed media refers to a wide range of art techniques that incorporate different materials, such as paint, paper, clay, and fabric, to create a unique piece of art. Adopting mixed media for teaching purposes can provide a fun and engaging way for students to learn while keeping them motivated. Students can learn technical skills, gain self-confidence, and develop problem-solving abilities.


1. Purpose Painting:

This activity is an excellent way to enable students to express their understanding of the author’s purpose through paint and collage. Provide each student with a white canvas, paint, and markers. Ask them to illustrate their understanding of the author’s intention by developing a visual representation of the text. They can use figurative images, symbols, and colors to express their ideas creatively. Alternatively, ask students to paint a picture of a character from the book or article and illustrate what they believe is the character’s purpose.

2. Stop, Think, and Choose:

This activity helps students to analyze the author’s purpose by breaking down each purpose. First, divide the class into small groups. Assign each group with a different text. Ask them to read the text, and then isolate and write down the author’s purpose on sticky notes. After collecting the notes, ask each group to present their findings, and then the class can discuss and identify the purpose. This discussion will help students to contextualize and understand differing perspectives.

3. Skim to Identify:

Another key strategy to identify an author’s purpose is through skimming. In this activity, provide each student a short passage or article and ask them to skim through it. Then create a questionnaire that each student should answer. Each question should relate to a specific author’s purpose, such as informing, persuading, or entertaining. As this activity emphasizes skimming, it enables students to sift through the text’s essentials to see patterns in what the author is trying to communicate.

4. Review the Headline:

For multimedia or news articles, headlines often function as a summary of the entire story. The headline often provides a brief overview of the author’s purpose. Provide students a multimedia article or a news article. Ask students to examine the headline and make a prediction about the author’s purpose. Then, as the students read the rest of the article, have them evaluate their initial hypotheses.

5. Role Play and Re-enactment:

Role-playing and re-enacting scenes from books, articles, and plays enable students to interpret the author’s purpose through a physical portrayal. Assign each student a specific character from the text and ask them to re-enact a scene from the story. Afterwards, ask students to explain their character’s purpose.


Teaching students to identify the author’s purpose is an essential skill they can carry with them throughout their academic and personal pursuits. However, it can be challenging for students to understand the authors’ goals without explicit instruction. Mixing media is an effective method of engaging students and providing them with visual, kinetic, and collaborative learning processes. As students learn to master this skill, they will become more capable of analyzing the texts they read, bringing a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding to the written word.

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