Our purpose for reading is to find out why people love dog sledding. We will practice active reading and making connections between the two texts to help us identify ideas that will help us achieve our purpose.

siberian huskies pulling a dogsled

Source: A sled dog team at work, Wolfgang Hägele, Wikimedia.org

We could just read the texts and then try to remember how they are alike and different, but trying to remember all the details can sometimes be difficult. To make it easier for ourselves, we can make annotations as we read. Annotations will help us note the important information from each text so we can then see how the texts are connected.

It’s a good idea to start with the text that looks easier, perhaps the one that is shorter. That way, we’ll get a sense of the territory before we have to deal with the longer, more difficult text.

The first text has been annotated for you. (The dots in the text—better known as an ellipsis—show where words were omitted in this excerpt of the story.)  Click on each phrase in bold to see the annotations in the margin. The annotations are intended to help us achieve our reading purpose: What makes people love the sport of dog sledding?

icon for an interactive exercise

Before we go on to the second text, let’s review our annotations for the first one. Remember, we were looking for details to help us understand why the author likes dog sledding. Because he does not state his reasons directly, our annotations were made in most cases based on inferences. We made logical guesses about why the author likes dog sledding based on his attitude toward his observations.

Look at the statement in the second-to-last paragraph:

“All the one-word answers to my question [Why do sled dogs run?] are too simple: love, joy, duty, obedience”.

Four words—love, joy, duty, obedience—describe admirable qualities. Since the author selects these qualities as possible reasons for the dogs’ running, we can infer that he has a positive attitude toward the dogs.

Look at the other annotations. Not once in the entire text is there a direct answer to our reading purpose question: Why do people like dog sledding? In the first annotation, we inferred respect for the dogs based on the author’s observation that they are eager to pull the sled.

In the last annotation, the comparison to the greyhound states a fact: The sled dogs have no mechanical rabbit to chase. We can infer from this comparison that the author admires the sled dogs’ eagerness to work more than a greyhound’s instinct to chase.

Now that you see how to make annotations and how to make inferences by connecting textual information, try annotating the next text. Click the link to open the graphic organizer. You can save, download, and print this file. When you are finished using the graphic organizer, return to the lesson. Graphic Organizer Instructions

Make sure you save the annotated text you did on your own because we’re going to use it as well as the first text we annotated together in the next section. We have lots of material now. The next step is to organize it.