Friday, September 16, 2011

Annotation for fun and intellectual profit

We will be reading several very dense texts in this class.  In order to follow and fully comprehend these works it will be necessary for you to annotate the texts.

I will be expecting to see notes in the margins of everything we read this class, and the denser the text the more notes I expect to see.

Anyone, even a top-notch Harvard professor, who reads challenging material will make notes in the margins.  Making notes allows you to read actively, not passively.  It is like having a conversation, versus listening to someone talk at you.  It is much easier to understand a complicated issue, or a simple issue presented in complicated language when you read actively and engage in dialogue with the text.

Techniques you may want to employ include underlining or circling ideas or phrases which stand out or confuse you, and noting questions or sudden "ah-ha"moments in the margins. It also helps to number a series of related ideas.

Please follow the link to a PDF put together by Hunter College in New York City.  You may find the example of annotation most helpful.

Hunter College's Guide to Annotation

1 comment:

  1. I entirely agree; annotating is one of the key actions I commit to during reading. Hunter College's point on commenting and responding to certain portions of text is one of the most helpful ways to engage, in my opinion, because it allows one to hold an almost cohesive conversation with the author, and promotes deep thinking and influence.