Monthly Archives: December 2009

6 Reading Habits to Develop, Part 2: Annotating

Picture 12. Annotating text means to have a “dialogue” with yourself, the author, and the issues and ideas at stake. From start to finish, make your reading of any text thinking-intensive.

  • Throw away the highlighter in favor of a pen or pencil. Highlighting can distract from your learning and dilute your comprehension.
  • Mark up the margins of your text with WORDS: ideas that occur to you, notes about things that seem important to you, reminders of how issues in a text may connect with class discussion or course themes. This kind of interaction keeps you conscious of the REASON you’re reading and the PURPOSE your instructor has in mind.
  • Develop your own symbol system: asterisk a key idea, for example, or use an exclamation point for the surprising, absurd, bizarre
  • Get in the habit of hearing yourself ask questions–“what does this mean?” “why is he or she drawing that conclusion?” “why is the class reading this text?” etc. Write the questions down (in the margin, at the beginning or end of the reading, in a notebook, or elsewhere). They are reminders of the unfinished business you still have with the text.
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