April 20, 2022
Do You Annotate?
Pros and Cons
Some readers annotate and some do not.
What is annotating?
What is the purpose of annotating?
How do you annotate?
I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. Do you love discussion posts?
As I reflect, think about your experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.
What is Annotation?
Annotation is simply interacting with the text to find meaning as you read.
What is the difference between Annotation, Highlighting, and Note-Taking?
All three are forms of interacting with the text for the purpose of increasing comprehension and constructing meaning. All three facilitate communication between the author and the reader.
Annotation occurs right on the page and involves a system of symbols. Love something? Put an exclamation point in the margin. Confused? Add a question mark in the margin. Don’t know a word? Circle it. Love a thought. Add a heart to the margin. Want to remember a quote? Underline and put a star in the margin. Disagree? Place a sad face in the margin. Do you see steps or a list of reasons? Number them. Do you notice a potential theme developing? Mark it with a “T.” Etc. In the days when I was reading physical books, I always read with a pencil in hand (except for library books of course!). You can make up your own set of symbols for annotating.
Highlighting: Use a highlighter or different color highlighters to highlight certain sections, words, phrases, and concepts. The danger of this is that you might not remember why you highlighted a certain part. Or you might be a 5th grader who loves to use a highlighter and indescriminately highlight an entire page or pages! (Come on! I know you remember doing that!) If you are reading on a kindle, you can use the highlighting tool (and actually export these highlights!). As an alternative to a highlighter you could use book darts to mark a line or a post-it to mark a page or write a note. If you are an audio book listener, you can bookmark a certain location (or write the location in a note on your phone) and put it in physical note form later.
Note-Taking: When I take notes, I like to divide my paper into sections for characters, setting, themes, quotes, etc. Downsides to taking notes: it’s more laborious than other methods and they can be misplaced! So I recommend a spiral you can use as a book journal for note taking. In theory, it’s more difficult to lose an entire journal than a scap of paper.
Do I Annotate?
Well, this needs a clarification. When I used to buy physical books, I annotated them all. Now I read digital books and need to rely on highlighting or note-taking. However, of all the methods I love annotating the most. I love picking up a book I’ve read and seeing all the annotations! Have you ever bought a used book filled with annotations?
Why Do I Annotate?
The main reason I annotate is to promote comprehension and construct meaning. In other words: to retain, question, react, or respond. When I taught 5th grade, I required my students to annotate. I loved that we had “consumable” social studies textbooks so that I could teach them to use an annotation system of special marks. There are charts of marks you can access or simply make up your own! Annotation is a form of communication with the author and the best comprehension tool. Related: When I was a student, I always took extensive notes and often I came home and rewrote my notes. The act of physically moving the pencil on paper builds comprehension and meaning. Have you found that to be true in your life? This same principle applies here!
For writing reviews, it is imperative that I use one of these three methods for interacting with the story. My notes, annotations, and/or highlights jog my memory of the reading experience, jump start my review, and give me examples to site or quotes to highlight.
The Cons of Annotating
Well, the obvious con is that you don’t want to write on the pristine pages of your book! I promise it’s ok to mark up your book! Permission granted! Annotating will make your reading experience more meaningful and increase the sentimental value of your book. Another con might be the investment of time. However, if time spent results in a more satisfying reading experience, isn’t it worth it? Honestly, I can’t think of another con. Can you? If you don’t annotate, can you share why?
Interacting with the text in whatever way possible adds meaning to your reading experience.
QOTD: Do You Annotate, Highlight, or Take Notes?
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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