A Guide to Annotating Informational Text and Fiction

Performance Indicator:  

P.S ELA-2 Reading Analysis: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

A. Evaluate the relevant themes and synthesize how they are present in the novel in oral and written responses.
B. Interpret the implications of setting and circumstance.
C. Analyze the role of characters in the plot in oral and written responses.
D. Analyze important quotations from the text in oral and written responses.
E. Annotate the text.

P.S ELA-3 Reading Craft and Structure: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of a text.

A. Understand SOAPSTone: Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone
B. Analyze the plot and/or design of the text, following shifts in time and place.

What is text annotation?

Textbook annotation is part of a system of textbook marking that involves the reader in:
1. Writing brief summaries in the text’s margins
2. Listing or numbering multiple ideas (causes, effects, reasons, characteristics)
3. Sketching pictures and charts to explain difficult processes/ concepts
4. Predicting & writing possible test questions
5. Noting puzzling or confusing ideas that need clarification through discussion
6. Underlining key ideas or concepts

What will text annotation do for me?

Text annotation can have several advantages for the reader. Annotating will:
1. Improve your concentration so you will not become distracted and have to reread the text.
2. Provide an immediate self-check for your understanding of the text’s key ideas.
3. Help you remember more.
4. Assist you in getting ready for tests on the material.
5. Negate the need of time spent in rereading the chapters.
6. Help you state ideas in your own words.

What should I look for to annotate?

Important factors/areas to look for when reading and annotating:
What am I looking for?   How do I annotate it?
Definitions Def. * [ ]
Lists, features, causes, effects, characteristics, reasons
Names, dates, events that are key
Underline or (circle) Examples of the main idea
Good summary of the passage
Good test questions of the passage
Something you didn’t understand?

A strategy for annotating fiction:
1. Identify significant characters
2. Identify important locations (setting/exposition)
3. Identify the problem that the main character encounters
4. What is the author’s attitude towards the protagonist and his/her problem?
5. Are literary elements such as symbolism employed to emphasize meaning?
6. What lesson does the story convey with respect to the protagonist and his/her problem?
6. Check your annotations to be sure that they make sense to you.
7. Go on to the next section or paragraph. Remember, not every paragraph will have a key concept that should be annotated, but every page or section usually does.

How can you study based on this system?
1. Cover the text.
2. Read your annotations. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Do my annotations make sense?
• Do I understand the concepts identified?
3. If not, uncover the text and reread only the key material. Do not reread the entire section.
4. In essence, you want to talk yourself through the entire chapter/text and actively learn the material.
5.  Annotating fiction and informational text differs significantly.  When annotating fiction review your annotations after you have completed a section or an element of suspense that culminates a group of chapters.  You do not want the annotating to interfere with your ability to engage meaningfully with the story.