How to Annotate a Text Good Reading Background Most reading is skimmed. When you need to learn, reading requires close attention. Good reading is hard work. Good reading makes good writing. Adapted from The Bedford Reader and The Little, Brown Reader Adaptation by Laura Hayes What does it mean to ANNOTATE a piece of text? Annotation (creating meaningful notes) ensures that we actively read a text rather than passively allowing words to bounce off of our faces. Read with a pen, pencil, and/or sticky notes in hand, marking important passages. Make notes in the margins. Communicate with the text; bring its ideas to life. Annotation allows us to mark important passages and reminds us of our reactions to the texts. There is no one right way to annotate a text. Why should we annotate a text as we read? Helps us to capture main ideas / key concepts / details of a reading Target and reduce the needed information from a text Cut down on study and review time when you return to the material increasing your effective and efficient use of time and effort Strengthen your reading comprehension Previewing: Before You Annotate Find a quiet place with no distractions (you really want to limit your exposure to music, cell phones, and/or TV) Look at the title Usually includes author’s subject or method Who is the author? What you already know helps you guess something about the writing If biographical sketch is provided, read it Adapted from The Bedford Reader and The Little, Brown Reader Adaptation by Laura Hayes Previewing: Before You Annotate In what was it published? Would you be more likely to believe “Living Mermaids: An Amazing Discovery” if it were published in Scientific American or The National Enquirer? Indicates for whom it was written When was it published? If it’s about mermaids, will you find it more reliable if written in 1988 or 1788? Adapted from The Bedford Reader and The Little, Brown Reader Adaptation by Laura Hayes Annotation Guidelines Read with a pen or pencil in hand. Helps you focus and stay alert. Create your own code / symbols & be CONSISTENT with your system. Abbreviate using things such as brackets, stars, exclamation points Keep a list of characters & their key traits A good place: inside cover of the book Add brief notes to your lists as you read Look for patterns What ideas do you see repeated? What connections can you draw between different concepts? Annotation Guidelines Create your own code / symbols, cont. When you ANNOTATE mark: main idea supporting details key terms cause and effect Explanations Underline/highlight – CAUTION: Use this sparingly. Underline/highlight only a few words. Never underline an entire passage. At the end of each chapter, bullet-point the key events as a summary or write a short summary. Annotation Guidelines Have a CONVERSATION with the text. Talk back to it. Take your time as you begin a new text. Ask yourself many questions as you begin: Try to make a quick note on the top of each page indicating the most important point there. Ask questions (essential to active reading). Are there any fallacies in the text? How does this relate to your everyday or life experiences? Use question marks. Be alert to what puzzles you. Good readers do not zip along without stopping to monitor their comprehension. They stop to think and to note what they don’t understand. Write down questions you would like to discuss. Your annotations must include comments as evidence of thinking. Annotation Guidelines Of course, you should always pay attention to VOCABULARY. A strong vocabulary comes from reading, not from memorizing lists. Your text includes many words that will be new to you. Mark these words. Try to determine meaning from the context. If you are really puzzled by a word, look it up. Dictionary.com has an app that is free. When will you need to annotate a text for this class? You will annotate ALL pieces we read this year. You will also annotate, albeit limited, each week on the Article of the Week. Let’s Practice now! Use the highlighters to annotate your AoW. Remember Stoner’s Star Rule: each time you highlight something, you must add a marginal note to explain why you highlighted the text. Read carefully. Read to understand! Be sure you write notes that you understand.