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Critical Reading Strategy

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1 Critical Reading Strategy
ANNOTATION Critical Reading Strategy

2 Why annotate? How many times have you had to read something more than once to comprehend it? How many times have you found yourself reading the same line over and over again because you were thinking of something else rather than concentrating on what you were reading?

3 We know that to read a short story, a novel, a newspaper or magazine article, a chapter in a textbook, etc… can be challenging even for adults. We also know that to be able to immediately understand what we read and answer questions can be a difficult and time consuming task at times. Everyone, even adults sometimes/often struggle with comprehension due to a lack of focus or some other reasons so to improve in this area we are going to be annotating what we read.

4 Why Annotate? The act of annotating allows (actually forces) the reader to become actively involved and focused during the reading / learning process. Annotating targets multiple learning styles. When annotating, we are READING, THINKING, and WRITING at the same time.

5 What exactly is an annotation?
First of all, everyone in this room has annotated in one form or another. Many of you are doing it right now. For example, when we read our assigned novels and texts, when we conduct research for various papers we write, and when we study for our exams, we highlight, place stars next to important points, underline, and write little notes all over. No one really tells us we have to do that. It was just a strategy that we use to help us focus and retain what we are reading.

6 Let’s get started. It does not matter what you are reading, nor what subject area you are reading for, you should annotate everything. Ideally, you should skim through the assigned reading before engaging in the annotating process. As you skim, you must circle or highlight unknown words.

7 STEP 2: BLOCK by drawing a line under each paragraph from the left side of the paper all the way to the right side. Must use blue ink (or another color). Define all circled or highlighted words in the corresponding left margin.

8 STEP 3: READ QUESTIONS FIRST. You should look at the questions that you are being asked to answer. This gives you hints on what to focus on.

9 Step 4: Read the text.

10 STEP 5: READ TITLE. What does the title mean? What do you think the story, article, etc… is about? On the right hand side of the title, write what you think this story is about. “I think this story will be about…” This needs to be done in any color ink other than black.

11 STEP 6: Read each blocked paragraph individually, and complete the steps below. 1. UNDERLINE only the main idea of the paragraph in one color other than black. 2. WRITE a note in the right margin (block) that corresponds with the underlined main idea. In other words, write the main idea in your own words and / or make an inference. (TIP: Ask “so what?”) If you can answer this, then you understand.) The margin note can even be a question. The goal is to build up to higher order thinking. Also, look for and identify any literary devices used. **Margin notes do not have to be in complete sentences. Bullets are actually preferred. Remember: VOCABULARY ON LEFT AND NOTES ON RIGHT.

12 STEP 7: After annotating the entire piece, read margin notes, and write the overall main idea at the top of the page. “The main idea of this story was…”

13 STEP 8: ANSWER QUESTIONS. An annotation is never complete until you have answered questions about what you have read. Sample questions include: Author’s purpose? Main idea? Problem/conflict? Why is this happening? Solution/resolution? Answers must contain FACT, SUPPORT, and ELABORATION. In other words, you must factually answer the question. You must prove that is the answer by using support (specific details, blended quote or paraphrased information) from their reading assignment. For more advanced levels, you should attempt to elaborate or explain the connection between the factual answer and the support.

14 Why use this strategy? When you are writing at the same time you are reading, you are going to remember it. For example, once you have written a “to do” list, more than likely you do not have to look at the list again. Since the passage is broken down, you are able to analyze what you are reading. When answering questions, you are able to look back at your margin notes to assist in answering rather than having to search through the entire passage. Since you are allowed to write in your LEAP and i-LEAP booklets, you may use this strategy to help increase your chances of understanding and answering questions correctly and in the correct format. IT WORKS!!!!!!!!

15 VARIATION: When you are annotating something from a textbook or a book that you may not write in, you will use sticky notes. Before removing them from the text, you will number your notes in the order that they wrote them. Then you will place the notes in order on loose-leaf and turn in.

16 Let’s Annotate!!!!!

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