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Annotation: Why and How We Mark a Text

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Michelle Gaffey

on 23 August 2016

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Transcript of Annotation: Why and How We Mark a Text

Annotation: Why and How We Mark a Text
What is an Annotation?
An annotation is a brief note that explains or responds to something that we've read.

We typically hand-write our annotations in the margins of the text we are reading.

The process of marking a text with annotations is called "annotating." Used in a sentence, we might say: "I plan to annotate my reading after lunch."
What is Purpose of Annotation?
Have you ever met someone who has just read the same challenging text as you, but seems to just "get" the text's main ideas right away?

You might think, "Yeah, she's read this before for school. That's why she understands it already."

While this is possible, it is also likely that she has annotated the text.
Is there Another Purpose of Annotation?
Yes. As you are probably aware, many classes you take in college will ask you to complete "reading quizzes" that ask you to remember and identify key points of what you have read.

You might be thinking, "How will I remember all of that information?"

The good news? Annotation can help with this, too!
A Path to Comprehension
The first purpose of annotation is to help us
- or understand - what we are reading.

When we annotate a text, we often feel more confident participating during class since we have already made sense of the text's ideas.
A Path to Retention
The second purpose of annotation is to help us
- or remember - the information in a text.

Studies repeatedly show that when we record notes on a text, we remember more of it! What a great way to prepare for reading quizzes!
What about Connecting to the Ideas? Isn't that Important, Too?
Yes -very! Many of us understand and remember what we read when it makes us feel something or when it speaks to our own lives and experiences.

For example, isn't it great when we read something new, and we think, "Hey - I heard about this before!" Or, "Wow, this reminds me of that time when..."

Marking a text with these thoughts is part of annotation, too!
A Path to Engagement
Thus, the third purpose of annotation is to help us
with the text.

Importantly, we can often connect with texts that seem to have little in common with our interests. The key is for us to latch on to something familiar, something that speaks to us.
To Summarize the Three (3) Purposes of Annotation:
Annotation is:

a path to
(to understanding a text's ideas)
a path to
(to remembering a text's ideas)
a path to
(to connecting with a text's ideas)
Ok. Now, how do we make an annotation?
How to Write
Effective Annotations:
For our course, I will ask you to record four types of annotations on your readings:

Paraphrastic Annotations
Affective Annotations
Dialogic Annotations
Analytical Annotations
Paraphrastic Annotation
This is the most common type of annotation.

When making a
paraphrastic annotation

you briefly
paraphrase key points of the text in the margins; that is, you make a note of
key points completely in your own words

Paraphrastic annotations show that you understand a text's meaning.
Affective Annotation
Students often find this type of annotation to be the most enjoyable to write.

When making an
affective annotation

you briefly note in the margins how a passage
makes you

, or how a passage connects to
your own life and experiences

Affective annotations show that you connect with a text.
Dialogic Annotation
This is an important type of annotation.

When making a
dialogic annotation

you engage in a dialogue with the text. You might begin to wonder about the text's ideas, or even
make connections
between the text you are reading with other things you've read before.

Dialogic annotations are often
you have, or they might be statements that
challenge a text's ideas

Dialogic annotations show that you are engaging with a text.
Analytical Annotation
This type of annotation asks you to think about
a text is working.

When making an
analytical annotation

you notice important
literary devices
at work in the text, such as
, and
word play
. You also work to uncover a writer's

Analytical annotations show that you understand how a text is working to reach its readers.
In Sum, Annotation is One of the Most Important Skills to Master during your First Year of College!
Soon we will begin making our own paraphrastic, affective, dialogic, and analytical annotations.

My hope is that you find this skill to be a valuable tool for comprehension, retention, and engagement in all of your college classes!
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