Reading Comprehension – Author’s Purpose

Reading Comprehension Strategy – Author’s Purpose or Author’s Intention 


Reading Comprehension

Head Questions – Author’s Purpose

Reading Comprehension - Head Questions

Reading Comprehension Strategy – Head Questions

A collection of question stems to aid reading comprehension.

When evaluating a reading comprehension activity you have to ask the question,

‘Is this activity teaching the students how to comprehend or are they simply seeking and finding answers?’

This set of questions stems are for the ‘Head’ part of the 3H Comprehension Strategy (Here Hidden Head). They aid in the exploration of an author’s intention.


Possible Way to Use These Stems

  • During Guided Reading sessions I model the creation of questions using the stems. I either have a couple of printed copies on the desk or have this page open on a laptop or Ipad. Students then answer my questions either to the whole group or to a partner.
  • Students make up questions for their peers using the question stems and write them down. We then answer the questions as a group.

Author’s Intention Question Stems

– The author says ‘………………..’ What does this really mean?
– The author uses the phrase (insert phrase) to give us the idea that…
– Describe the value of this piece of writing in terms of big picture stuff. i.e. ‘Life, The Universe and Everything’
– What are the ‘big picture’ themes raised by the author in this text?
– How do you think the author felt about (character)?
– What do you think is the author’s attitude to his/her audience?
– Describe the tone of this piece of writing?
– What is the author’s purpose in this text? i.e. Is it to entertain? Persuade? Inform? Espouse? Something else?
– The author has capitalized the words (Words in Capitals) to show…
– The author has written the words (insert words) in italics to indicate…
– The author uses the phrase (phrase). This phrase suggests…
– The author made an analogy in the text by saying (insert analogy). What irrelevant meanings might be implied from this?

Reading Strategies - Comprehension

Reading Strategies – Comprehension


– What do you feel is the author’s best use of metaphor in the text? Why?
– In your opinion, what is the best example of description in the text? i.e. a passage that created a vivid image in your mind’s eye.
– The author made an analogy in the text by saying (insert analogy). Tell me why you think the author has done this.
– What lessons from this author’s writing can you apply to your writing to make it more interesting for your readers?
– Writing a book sometimes takes a lot of thought. What do you think would have been the hardest problem in the text to solve successfully?
– What lesson do you think the author is teaching us in this passage?
– What lesson do you think (character) is teaching us in this passage?
– Why do you think the author wrote this piece?
– What do you think the author’s message is in this text?
– What message is the author trying to send us in this piece of writing?
– What do you think motivated the author to write this book? (NB ‘Money’ is a given. Move on! hehehehe)
– Why do you think this text was written?

– What is the text mainly about?
– Why do you think the author decided to…?
– What audience do you think the author wrote this book for? Give three pieces of evidence that tell you this?
– What do you think are the author’s views on (subject)? What sections of the text lead you to think this?
– The author says ‘………………..’ What does this mean?
– Make a list of 5 questions you would like to ask this author in an email. (NB How much money do you make is NOT an option hehehehe)

To help you ‘rise above the mundane’, here are a few of mine… 🙂


– What inspires you to write for (audience)?
– How did you approach writing (a piece of writing)?
– What advice do you have for young writers?
– In your career so far, what book has given you the most satisfaction?
– You said (quote) in (media). What did you mean by that?
– What was your initial inspiration to write…?
– What is the hardest part about writing for you? How do you overcome this?

Further Reading

Reading Strategies Book

Reading Strategies Tips

 The Reading Strategies Book:
Your Everything Guide to
Developing Skilled Readers