Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Three Little Purposes: Using 'The Three Little Pigs' to Teach Author's Purpose

Author's Purpose

K20 Center, Dilynn Hare | Published: September 22nd, 2020 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

  • Grade Level Grade Level 2nd, 3rd
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
  • Duration More 140 minutes


Using the tale of The Three Little Pigs and associated nonfiction pieces, students try their hand at text analysis with a special focus on author’s purpose. Through examining a variety of texts, students practice determining author’s purpose. At the conclusion of this lesson, students demonstrate their understanding of author’s purpose through their own writing of differentiated activities including designing a new cover by either: (1) writing a new story title, (2) writing a story review, or (3) writing a story summary.

Essential Question(s)

Why did the author write this story? 



Students encounter a traditional version of "The Three Little Pigs" and discuss the essential question, "Why did the author write this story?"


Students explore a nonfiction article and a persuasive list to help them discover different purposes for writing.


The class uses an Anchor Charts strategy with the PIE acronym to remember the three types of author's purpose.


Student read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and evaluate the author's purpose for this story.


Students choose an author's purpose and design a cover for a Three Little Pigs story that matches their chosen author's purpose.


  • Traditional version of "The Three Little Pigs" (attached; optional)

  • "All About Pigs" article (attached; one per station)

  • Author's Purpose Think-Pair-Share strategy handout (attached, one per student)

  • "Top Five Reasons to NOT Eat Bacon" list (attached, one per station)

  • "The Three Little Pigs" writing template (attached, one per student)

  • "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka (use local copy or view video linked below)

  • Poster paper

  • Markers

  • Sticky notes


Begin by reading a traditional version of "The Three Little Pigs" out loud to the students. One can be found in the attachments if needed. Alternatively, an online version with illustrations can be accessed here (full URL listed in the Resources section below).

Pass out the attached Think-Pair-Share Author's Purpose handout to each student. Introduce the Think-Pair-Share strategy, and ask the students to consider the question, “Why did the author write this story?”

On their handouts, invite students to record their answer and their partners answer in the first two columns ("I Think" and "My Partner Thinks"). Next, lead a whole-class discussion about the story and have students record those responses in the last column ("Our Class Thinks").


Explain to students that authors have various reasons for writing stories, even ones on the same subject, such as pigs.

In rotations, have the students read each of the documents at the centers and complete only the “Think” and “Pair” portions of their Think-Pair-Share strategy page, answering the question “Why did the author write this?"

After everyone has had a chance to visit the centers and record their answers, bring the class back together as a group to share out their idea's about the author's purpose for each piece. Ask students to the class observations on their Think-Pair-Share handout, just as you did in the Engage session.


Using a whiteboard, tablet paper, or chalkboard, introduce an Anchor Chart strategy (see example below) to illustrate the three types of author's purpose demonstrated in each of the writings that students read. As a class, discuss and connect students' work from the Engage and Explore phase to the Anchor Chart.

Author's Purpose Anchor Chart—PIE (Persuade, Inform, Entertain)

After identifying the different author's purposes using the PIE (persuade, inform, entertain) acronym, ask students to add comments and observations from the previous activities to the Anchor Chart. Consider each of the readings, the "All About Pigs" article, the "Top Five Reasons to NOT Eat Bacon" list, and the "The Three Little Pigs" story. Ask students: "What was the purpose of each of these readings?" Add students' responses to the chart.


Now, read “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka. If you don't have a copy of the book, or can't find one in your school library, a video version can be found here (full URL listed in the Resources section below).

Using a modified Sticky Bars strategy, have students choose a sticky note from the column that they feel matches the author's purpose for "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs." Invite students to write the reason they think the story fits that purpose on the sticky note. Have each student partner with a student who chose a different author’s purpose, then ask each to discuss the reasons for their choice. If students are struggling with this activity, consider pairing them with a sticky note partner who chose the same author's purpose first, then pair them with a partner who chose differently.


Using construction blank paper or the attached Three Little Pigs Writing Template (shown below), have students design a new cover for the story based on the author's purpose they chose in the Extend activity. Students can choose to (1) write a new story title, (2) write a story summary, or (3) write a story review. They should also include a picture to go with their new cover. These could be fun to display or save for a portfolio.

Cover Template for Author's Purpose (attached).