Students use author's purpose worksheets by reading excerpts of larger texts and answering questions about the reasons why the author wrote the particular passage. The worksheets help students practice for author's purpose questions, which form part of the reading comprehension section on standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT and GRE.
Author's purpose questions do not cover the general motivations of authors for writing overall works but focus on the reasons why authors select specific words, phrases, descriptions or portions of passages. Worksheets provide short reading passages on a variety of topics, along with questions phrased in various ways so that students receive sufficient practice in answering author's purpose questions. Among the key concepts that author's purpose questions often cover are the comparison, contrast or criticism of ideas. Other author's purposes may be to illustrate, describe, list, suggest or explain concepts.
Although it is impossible to prepare for specific passages contained in the reading comprehension portions of standardized tests, the types of questions and the skills necessary to master them remain the same. Author's purpose worksheets allow students to focus their attention on predictable and answerable question types during study time. With repeated practice, students become adept at pinpointing the aim of a question and using learned strategies in obtaining the answer.