Annotation has some big benefitsfor readers and writers alike:
It slows down those super-speedy readers who are racing to the finish line.
It helps students make connections.
It encourages students to ask questions and find evidence, both of which are qualities that need to be emphasized.
It fosters a personal relationship and understanding of the text.
It makes reading active and it improves the reading comprehension.
Here are a few golden rules to follow for annotation.
LESS IS MORE: Sure, a page that is entirely highlighted looks like you have really been focusing hard on every single word. But when you come back to the text, you will have to re-read everything to figure out what was really important.Only highlight key text elements. Decide on a system in advance so that you know whether something is ‘highlight-worthy’ or not.
PUT A PLAN IN PLACE: Scribbling something may make perfect sense to youwhile you are reading, but you might forget what blew your mind by the time you go back to the text.Keep track of the following text elements using different colors or a shorthand code: argumentation, author’s purpose, cause and effect, compare and contrast, inference and evidence, main ideas and details, sequence.
GO BEYOND YELLOW: Using more than one color can help you distinguish between different text elements or themes in a quick, visual way.Come up with a color code such as purple for argument, green for evidence, and blue for main ideas and details.
LOOK FOR POWER WORDS: Reading is a great way to grow your vocabulary. And growing your vocabulary is a great way to impress the college recruiters, future employers, even your teacher.Highlight or circle words that you do not know and want to look up.
MAKE IT PERSONAL: Annotation is not just about identifying text elements and completing the assignment. It is a great way to record your personal reactions to the text, including things you found surprising, funny.This way, people will know about you through your texts.