Annotating a Text Sample and Directions

What is it?  |  What does it look like?  |  How could I use, adapt or differentiate it?   |  Questions or Comments
Greece Central School District. Student Learning is the Goal

Use this Strategy:

  • Before Reading
  • During Reading
  • After Reading

Targeted Reading Skills:

  • Formulate questions in response to text
  • Analyze and interpret elements of poetry or prose
  • Draw conclusions and make inferences based on explicit (literal) and implicit (figurative) meaning

What is it?Go To Top of Page

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.

What does it look like?Go To Top of Page

The way a reader chooses to interact with a text will vary from reader to reader, but here is an example of a poem that has been annotated:


How could I use, adapt or differentiate it? Go To Top of Page

  • 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.