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Close reading annotations

April 21, 2015

In a Title 1 school on a Level 5 plan for improvement in the heat of Common Core adoption, the standards were a big part of our daily conversation. While I oppose the adoption of the CCSS, I do not deny that in and of themselves, the individual standards are worthy goals to work toward.

One Common Core Anchor Standard for reading is that students read closely to understand what a text says explicitly. This one was a big focus at my school because our students were struggling readers, and their performance on reading comprehension assessments reflected that. Our students needed support in comprehending texts at the most basic level: what does the text say explicitly?

Why I like annotation

One tool that I use in my own academic reading and that my students enjoyed as well is annotating. Whether you are able to provide students with their own copy of a text (remember that copyright prohibits you from photocopying many books, even when you own a class set!) or have them make their annotations on sticky notes, marking up the text allows students to engage with it. It helps them to be strategic readers and to read for a purpose. For the struggling reader, this gives them focus and helps to tune out the din that all too often accompanies the act of reading.

What annotations should students make?

Here are some annotations that I have students make in English and in Spanish: often, I will only tell students to mark just 3-5 of these in a given text.

Annotations in English texts

When students annotate a text while reading, it focuses their attention on meaning and personal connection. Train your students to use these symbols!

Annotations in Spanish texts

When students annotate a text while reading, it focuses their attention on meaning and personal connection. Train your Spanish students to use these symbols!

French Annotations

When students annotate a text while reading, it focuses their attention on meaning and personal connection. Train your Spanish students to use these symbols!

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