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Annotating a Text

Suggestion #1:
  1.  Pick up a pencil or pen.
  1.  Read EVERYTHING and begin to annotate:

Underline or make a * next to important ideas.

Write a ? next to anything you find confusing.

Circle unfamiliar words or phrases then try to define them from context or look the definition up in a dictionary. 

  1. Find some white space in the margin, at the bottom of a page, or even the end of a chapter and WRITE OUT your thoughts. Active readers:

      Question, Connect, Predict, Summarize, Infer, Evaluate, & Analyze

·         Your annotations should include any questions you have. These can be questions you want the teacher to answer or the class to discuss. 

·         Also write any connections you have to the text as they occur to you. Think about connections between this text and other texts you have read, seen, or heard in your life.

·         Sometimes when you read you just get a “feeling” about what you think will happen next.  Write out these predictions.  You can come back later and confirm or reject them once you’ve read further. 

·         In addition, most well-written texts require you to infer information, so you’ll need to take what you know and add it to what the writer is telling you to come to a new understanding. 

·         Also, sharing your opinions and making intelligent claims is essential when you evaluate and analyze a text. You can note passages or sections that seem inconsistent and write why you find them “weird”. Write how/why you got that response and even include specific reasons for why you feel a strong positive or negative response, or simply write notes you want to keep as a reminder of what you were thinking right then.

·         Finally, remember that annotating is more about quality than quantity! The more complete your annotations, the better, as your insights will be invaluable fodder for our Reading & Writing Workshop learning experiences! 


Suggestion #2 (Mortimer J. Adler, Ph.D., “How to Mark a Book”):

    * Underlining (or highlighting): of major points, of important or forceful statements.

    * Vertical lines at the margin: to emphasize a statement already underlined.

    * Star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin: to be used sparingly, to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book. (You may want to fold the bottom comer of each page on which you use such marks. It won't hurt the sturdy paper on which most modern books are printed, and you will be able take the book off the shelf at any time and, by opening it at the folded-corner page, refresh your recollection of the book.)

    * Numbers in the margin: to indicate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argument.

    * Numbers of other pages in the margin: to indicate where else in the book the author made points relevant to the point marked; to tie up the ideas in a book, which, though they may be separated by many pages, belong together.

    * Circling or highlighting of key words or phrases.

    * Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points right through the books. I use the end-papers at the back of the book to make a personal index of the author's points in the order of their appearance.

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    Unknown user,
    Oct 17, 2011, 8:48 AM
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