Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas, and will help them formulate thoughts and questions they have while reading.
Annotating a text is when the reader “marks up” a text to indicate places of importance or something they don’t understand. Sometimes students annotate by circling a word, underlining a phrase or highlighting a sentence. Annotating also includes writing notes in the margin; these notes might be thoughts or questions about the text. This process of annotating helps the reader keep track of ideas and questions and supports deeper understanding of the text.
The benefits of annotation include:
Students are taught to read with a purpose, and they should also be taught to annotate with a purpose. Teaching students to annotate with a purpose will help them focus on what is most important about the text.
When teaching annotation I instruct students to use the following symbols:
Underline key ideas and major points.
Write a ? next to anything that is confusing, such as unfamiliar words or unclear information.
Circle key words or phrases.
Put an ! next to surprising or important information or information that helps you make a connection.
Model for Annotating a Text, Grades 2–5
Here's how to use the Model for Annotating a Text:
Next, review the symbols students should use when annotating a text. Caution students that over-annotating will be confusing rather than helpful.
Then read the poem The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt and pause to model how to annotate with your students.
Once your students have learned the correct way to annotate a text, have them practice annotating with a purpose! With the Annotating Practice Kit, students will practice their annotation skills while reading the following articles:
Teaching your students how to annotate with a purpose will help them keep track of key ideas, and will help them formulate thoughts and questions they have while reading. It also encourages the reader to make inferences and draw conclusions about the text, as well as, make interpretations on a deeper level. Annotating allows the reader to easily refer back to the text without rereading the text in its entirety.
My downloads today will be important resources for your students as they begin to annotate texts.