Definition : "Children's responses indicate tacit or explicit understanding of the purpose of the literacy task."

The understanding of purpose was, on the whole, more often observed in the classrooms of the more effective and effective teachers. In essence, the more effective teachers gave clear explanations of the purposes of literacy tasks and their purposes were often of a higher order.

For example, whilst most of the teachers paid some attention to word and letter formation, the more effective and effective teachers usually made clear to the children that neatness of handwriting was a means to achieving effective writing outcomes rather than being an end in itself.

In another episode in the study, an effective teacher provided a very clear example of purpose when she encouraged a child to explain what to do when reading did not make sense. She explained that the purpose of learning was for children to be self-monitoring and to notice if meaning became confused. She also encouraged the children to use the strategy of re-reading to see if they could clarify meaning. In this way the teacher made clear that the purpose of reading was the pursuit of meaning and that to achieve this end children needed to self-monitor and self-correct."