You can’t read without writing

At a meeting today, we were discussing reading in social science when someone said, “you can’t read without writing.”

While some may be puzzled by this, I think every teacher (and hopefully every student) knows exactly what this means. You. Have. To. Annotate.

Booknoting, annotating, marking, commenting, all of it means the same thing, have a conversation with the text. Turn the paper into a discussion with the author.

To that end, I’m sharing the booknoting tips that I was fortunate enough to steal from my fantastic peers at school.

  1. UNDERLINE important sentences.
  2. Use SYMBOLS for key details *, ?, –>
  3. NUMBER any type of list.
  4. CIRCLE or BOX key terms, locations, or important figures.
  5. WRITE in the margins
    • Paraphrase
    • Make connections
    • Ask questions
    • Attempt to answer those questions
    • React to passages
  6. SUMMARIZE each chapter or section in bullet points.

Perhaps the most important rule though deals with the highlighter. You CANNOT paint the page yellow (or pink, orange, green, blue, etc.) Highlighters are like a guitar solo, great in short doses, but unbelievably annoying when overdone.

What are the annotation/booknoting/textmarking strategies I missed? Comment with the ones I forgot.



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