Annotate a Text For Purposeful Reading

48 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT gain knowledge of the process of reading a text closely by annotating with the help of a resource we create collaboratively.

Big Idea

Student annotations map their thinking process as they make meaning of a text.

Lesson Overview

Today, students will start reading the first text of this unit. My students have little experience annotating a text. This is an important skill to develop because it helps students focus on the significant details necessary for a close reading, important to the Common Core. We tackle this today.


4 minutes

I explain the basic idea of annotating, which is that to annotate means to make marks on your paper. I explain that effective readers annotate their papers because it is an excellent way of deconstructing a text. I tell them that what they are essentially doing is mapping their thought process as they read.

Many of my students will admit that they feel few thoughts run through their mind as they read. I acknowledge their concern and assert that their mind is absolutely capable of this kind of work and that they need to push themselves to make the type of connections effective readers do. Students like this need support and resources in order to approach a text and make sense of it the way expected by the Common Core. I move on to offer them this kind of help.

But, What Do I Annotate?

8 minutes

Many of my students feel that they just don't know what to annotate so I explain that if we think about the underlying idea that when we annotate we are deconstructing a text by mapping our thinking process we should be able to come up with a list of things that we can mark on a given text. I engage students in a brainstorming session about the types of things one can annotate while reading a text. With my students, I have to fill in a lot of information for them. Many were simply not able to suggest anything an effective reader may annotate while reading. I took this as an opportunity to instill the idea that annotating results in a thinking map and that as they work to strengthen their reading skills, students must purposely practice making the kinds of notes we included in our list. As students suggest thing for our list, I organize it in different categories that I later use to create this ANNOTATE chart. I organize it in this manner for them to further help them be purposeful as they annotate. Specifically, this organization helps them see that there are times when we focus on the author’s argument and annotate an author’s point and central ideas and supporting details. There are other times when we are in tune with our personal reader response and annotate things we agree or disagree with as well as personal reactions. This chart is posted on the wall.

Annotate a Text

40 minutes

I distribute the text titled “Stereotyping” and guide students to begin a purposeful close reading of this text. I begin by looking at the introductory lines with the entire class. The lines say, “Joseph H. Suina, a professor of education and a member of the Cochiti Pueblo, recalls the effects stereotyping had on his behavior in the Marines.” I tell students that when an effective reader encounters this text and reads the title and these introductory words, their mind immediately begins to engage with the text. I ask students to suggest the types of thoughts that may run through the mind of an effective reader as they read these introductory lines. Students will be able to point out that it is important to note that the author is an education professor who used to be in the Marines. They will also point out that the author is a member of the Cochiti Pueblo, but they may not quite know what that means. This is a good place to point out that an effective reader notes this, identifies the author as Native American, and accesses background information about Native Americans. An effective reader may also connect all this information with the title and predict what the author may be about to discuss in his essay.  I help students connect these thoughts to things we included on the "ANNOTATE" chart, such as “Background.”

I give students the rest of the class period to read the rest of the text and annotate. In this video, I discuss what one student annotated.

Closing and Next Steps

2 minutes

Students are not done reading the entire text. I let them know that they will have more time the next day to finish annotating and to hold a discussion about this text.