Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas, and will help them formulate thoughts and questions they have while reading.
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.
Download my Model for Annotating a Text which uses the poem The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt. My students have enjoyed using this poem as an introduction to the close reading of poetry and the skill of annotating.
The Model for Annotating a Text download includes an instructional tip sheet and annotation examples for students. You can make individual copies for your students to keep handy, or enlarge the annotation example to a poster size and hang it in the classroom!
Here's how to use the Model for Annotating a Text:
Explain to students that the annotations of skillful readers identify what they don’t understand and point out major facts or ideas they want to remember and use in their discussions and writing. Annotation also encourages readers to make inferences and to draw conclusions about the text, as well as to make interpretations on a deeper level.
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.
Grab the free downloads today and use them with students as they begin to annotate texts.