A photograph of a set of colored pens showing their range of colors

Source: Day 87: Somewhere over the rainbow, joeyanne, Flickr

Annotation is carrying on a conversation with the text and its author while you are reading. The advantages of annotating are many:

The two characters in “Active Reading” took drastically different approaches to how they used their textbooks. The young man wrote nothing in his book so that he could sell it after he finished the course. The young woman took ownership of her textbook by marking it up and placing sticky notes on important pages. She also showed us that good annotation consists of two parts: (1) highlighting and (2) taking notes.

The young woman’s better grade in the course could be due to the fact that she had her own notes to study from and didn’t have to reread the entire book. If you’re allowed to write in your books, do you?

icon for interactive exercise
Check the boxes below that describe your efforts at annotation.

Underlining or highlighting of key ideas
Circling unfamiliar words and using a dictionary or thesaurus to define them
Writing notes directly on lines of text or in the margins (marginalia)
Attaching sticky notes to pages
Keeping a writing journal