Reading is like shopping. In English class, you aren’t cruising the mall, window shopping with no specific purpose. This isn’t a bad thing; it can be fun just to peruse the mall and wander around a store to see what catches your eye. This is what you do when you read on your own. It doesn’t matter if you notice that sweater or not. Who cares? You don’t have any specific item you need to buy so you’re just wandering in and out and if you miss a store, it doesn’t matter. On the other hand, sometimes you are shopping for a specific thing , where you think ahead of time what item you need and thinking about the stores that will possibly have this item. While you might get occasionally sidetracked (and buy something that wasn’t on the list), you ultimately have to purchase something. This is the way it is in English class; you should have a mental “list” of what you are seeking to know. This list can change from chapter to chapter. Some things we want to know in English class are: Is this the bad guy? What are his intentions? Will he be rescued? Is this girl important to the storyline? What will he do next? How will he come to terms with this experience? Your purposes for reading should evolve as the narrative progresses.
How to annotate
The Art of Annotating The Pathway to Analytical Reading
Connect what you are reading to…How does this How does thisrelate to relate tosomething else something elsein my life— I’ve read?family,community, etc? How does this relate to me?
Ask QUESTIONS About the characters About the plot and how the author will unfold the narrative to you About information you don’t understand
Writers often give you hints or clues that help you "read betweenthe lines." These clues give you a deeper understanding. Whenyou infer, you go beyond the surface details to see othermeanings that the details suggest or imply (not stated). When themeanings of words are not stated clearly in the context of the text,they may be implied - that is, suggested or hinted at. Whenmeanings are implied, you may infer them.
Evaluate and JudgeWhat is the author ‘s thematic purpose? What ideasdoes the writer present that you agree with? Disagreewith? How relevant are these ideas to you? Whatprevious ideas of yours has this work changed oramplified?
The Levels of a Literary Text: Moving from the PLOT/SUBJECT to the THEMATIC PLOT LEVELThings that can be answered with the question “What?”What is being said or argued.What details are provided.In fiction: things a character does, other characters’ reactionsDetails of setting
Figurative LevelThings that can be answered with the question “Why?” or “How?” When we INFER things about the speaker’s point of view, or motivations When we observe and interpret literary devices and techniques that an author uses.
And the last and mostsophisticated Level: THEMATIC Level When we consider the big ideas or universal themes that the author has presented or hinted at.
What does “annotate” mean?Annotation is a method of writing down your ideas on a text: To trace your To develop your reading understanding of (setting, purpose, asking questions, literary analysis connecting, (plot, figurative, summarizing, thematic) inferring)
Good annotations will have a balance of written ideas ofYour own thoughts, connections and ideas With Your understanding of the author’s ideas and intentions
Comment on aspecific image Highlight: it doesn’t add any value!Mention literarydevices/elements Just circle words: say whyMention author’s intentor at least try to guess Limit yourself to your ownauthor’s intention opinion about the text, move on to purpose.
Reader ConnectionsOnly Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction— Text to SELF: I’ve met people who seem to be part of a group of people you hate but then turn out to be likable for some reasonGatsby—who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality Text to World: celebrities often become representative of the rich, spoiled, American Dream even if they do not characterize the rest ofis a series “celebrity world” the of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some The “was” indicates that he is either deadheightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as ifor this wasrelated to one of those he were written long after he was gorgeousintricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
Gatsby—who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If This metaphor, comparing your personality to a series of choreographed, physical movements makes it seem like he is gracefulpersonality is a series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous Why does he evoke both “scorn” and “gorgeous” qualities?about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to How is he more sensitive to the “promises ofone of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away life”? Does this mean he is more hopeful or more depressed?(Fitzgerald 3). Comparing him to a seismograph makes it seem as if he is “in tune” with FATE or “Lady Luck” and that things must always go his way, or that is what he must believe
Unproductive AnnotationsGatsby—who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If So Gatsby represents what he doesn’t likepersonality is a series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous He’s good lookingabout him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related toone of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away I don’t get what this means(Fitzgerald 3).