Reading and constructing meaning from a text is a complex and
active process; one way to help students slow down and develop their
critical analysis skills is to teach them to annotate the text as
they read. What students annotate can be limited by a list
provided by the teacher or it can be left up to the student’s
discretion. Suggestions for annotating text can include
labeling and interpreting literary devices (metaphor, simile,
imagery, personification, symbol, alliteration, metonymy,
synecdoche, etc.); labeling and explaining the writer’s rhetorical
devices and elements of style (tone, diction, syntax, narrative
pace, use of figurative language, etc.); or labeling the main ideas,
supportive details and/or evidence that leads the reader to a
conclusion about the text. Of course, annotations can also
include questions that the reader poses and connections to other
texts that reader makes while reading.
Have students complete this activity individually or with a partner as a way to prepare for a discussion and/or a writing prompt.
To differentiate, teachers can annotate some of the more difficult parts of a text to aid the students, begin the annotation with the entire class to get them started, or form heterogeneous or homogeneous groups based on skill levels and the teacher’s discretion for the best way to proceed.
Refer to the other annotation activities depending on the objective of the lesson.
Acronyms can provide students with helpful reminders about different things to consider when annotating text.