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English Language Arts Blog

The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

October 4, 2019 ELA PD - Literacy, ELA K-5, ELA 6-8, ELA Focus - Close Reading, ELA Resources - Tip Sheets, Core Literacy

Annotating Text Strategies That Will Enhance Close Reading [Printable Resources]

One of the most important skills I teach my students as we begin to work on close reading is how to annotate texts. Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas while reading. In this article, you'll discover annotating strategies that will enhance close reading and free printable resources you can use in the classroom!

 Download the Annotating Practice Kit now!

One of the most important skills I teach my students as we begin to work on close reading is how to annotate texts. Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas

Annotating Text Strategies

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.

 

Teaching annotation strategies will help students keep track of key ideas, and will help them formulate thoughts and questions they have while reading.

Annotating Text Strategies

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.

Benefits of Annotating a Text

The benefits of annotation include:

  • Keeping track of key ideas and questions
  • Helping formulate thoughts and questions for deeper understanding
  • Fostering analyzing and interpreting texts
  • Encouraging the reader to make inferences and draw conclusions about the text
  • Allowing the reader to easily refer back to the text without rereading the text in its entirety

Annotating With a Purpose

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.

Printable Annotation Examples and Activities

Model for Annotating a Text, Grades 2–5

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.

Download my Model for Annotating a Text which uses the poem The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt.

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"I Have a Dream" Close Reading Kit, Grades 3–8

My "I Have a Dream" Close Reading Kit also includes resources for teaching close reading annotation! In the kit you'll find an instructional guide for teachers and annotations for the first 10 paragraphs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Use this kit to model close reading in your classroom!

My "I Have a Dream" Close Reading Kit also includes resources for teaching close reading annotation!

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Annotating Practice Worksheets Kit, Grades 1–8

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:

  • Eagles
  • The First Playground
  • The Dove and the Ant
  • Sea Otters!

Use the worksheets and text excerpts in the Annotating Practice Kit to get students annotating with a purpose.

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In Conclusion

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.