Now that you’ve answered the questions for both texts, how do you keep two texts in your head at the same time and think about similar or different purposes? Even if the purposes are similar, authors may use different methods to achieve the same purpose. Let’s think about the two texts you read in the previous section. In the first one, the author uses her own camping experience to begin the essay and then explains that kids are allowed to be kids when at camp. In the second text, the author chooses to use more research about the benefits of nature to explain the importance of summer camps. Both texts are about summer camps. Both explain the benefits, but they explain different aspects.
When you read a text and compare it to another text, you are reading intertextually. Connecting your reading to other texts adds value because you’re connecting what you’re reading to more information about the same topic. How do you do this as you’re reading? You start by having a conversation with yourself about other texts you have read previously that connect to the text you’re reading currently.
Here’s some help to get you started. The first step is to read and annotate. This way, when you go back to the texts a second or third time, you can read them faster because you will have made notes on the texts and in the margins. Let’s talk about how to annotate. You may already know how to annotate as you read, but if you don’t, you may want to review the English I lesson Annotating for Meaning if you have access to that course. To annotate the two texts you are about to read, follow these simple directions:
The chart below will help you as you continue to improve your annotation skills.
|Tools||Techniques||Information to Mark|
|Highlighters in a variety of colors||Highlighting||Title, subtitle, headings, author’s name, information about the author, captions that explain images|
|Colored pencils||Underlining (straight and squiggly lines)||Unfamiliar words|
|Pens in a variety of colors||Boxing and circling||Main ideas|
|Sticky notes||Enclosing information in [brackets] and (parentheses)||Important details|
|Photocopies of pages from textbooks, library books, and books you have borrowed from others (in other words, books you can’t mark)||Numbering (1, 2, 3) and/or lettering (a, b, c) important points||Using icons (e.g., smiley faces or stars) to mark important details or to express your reaction to the text ☆ ☺|
|Drawing arrows to connect related ideas →||Steps in a process|
|Examples of literary devices or rhetorical devices
|The “5 Ws”: who, what, where, when, and why|