Basic Annotation (For Hard Copies)

These are some strategies to use for any text or handout, anywhere! Use sticky notes for texts you can’t write on.  The important part is to avoid simply underlining or highlighting sections without a note to indicate why. This rarely leads to an insightful analysis.

  1. Circle or highlight important words you don’t know. Write a quick synonym above the word, or draw a line to the margin and write a synonym there.
  2. Put a “?” next to things you have questions about, then write the answer you get in class next to the “?”
  3. Put a “!” next to things you think are unusual, unexpected, or inaccurate. Write a 2-4 word note explaining why.
  4. Put a “😊” (smile) next to things you like or agree with, or things that delight you. Write a 2-4 word note explaining why.
  5. Put a “” (frown) next to things that you dislike or disagree with, or things that disgust, disappoint, or dishearten you. Write a 2-4 word note explaining why.
  6. Circle parts of the text that are connected in some way, and draw a line between them. Obviously, don’t draw too thick a line that you can’t read what’s underneath!
  7. Circle or highlight words, passages, or sections that connect with other texts, books, movies, or notes from class. Write the connection above the word, or draw a line to the margin and write the connection there.