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How to Annotate like a Pro

  How to annotate like a pro  (Photo Courtesy of Katherine Stone)
How to annotate like a pro (Photo Courtesy of Katherine Stone)

Annotating is my favorite part of English class. I love stopping mid-sentence to write down how the author’s word choice was “so powerful” or “extremely important!” To become proficient in this skill, it’s simple really! 

Step one: Read the text at least 10 times. If you do not, you could have missed a small detail that changes the entire tone of the piece. So, read it as many times as possible to the point where you can restate the words without reading them. 

Step two: Write down the parts that stick out. If it sticks out, it is probably important. My go-to annotation for these are “use this,” “powerful,” or simply drawing a few stars around the quote that I will never go back to. 

Step three: Draw conclusions from the quotes you deemed worthy. If the author uses any words with negative connotations, write that down. It probably means something. If they have the word “sorrow” or “dreadful,” be ready to write something about the impact of these words.  

Step four: Give up halfway. It’s no longer worth your time. Annotating is too hard, and you can just finish it the day it is due. Super easy. 

Step five: Ignore step four, annotating is time consuming and there is no chance you have time to do it the day it’s due. Go back to reading your text and continue finding more significant quotes. 

Step six: Over annotate. You can never have too many annotations, right? Highlighting everything cannot be wrong if everything is meaningful.  

Step seven: Reread every annotation you have – there are too many. Pick the best and most impactful ones to analyze. If you cannot choose, refer to step one or step four.  

Step eight: Now that you have picked the quotes you want to use, start writing about why they are important. Make sure you write at least two times the amount of information you think you need. 

Step nine: Have someone else look at it, if they used different quotes than you, refer to step two. Edit your answers based on their feedback. 

Step ten: turn it in after convincing yourself it cannot be that bad.  

Beautifully annotated books that definitely didn’t take hours to finish
(Photo courtesy of Jenna Hawk)

Now that you are done annotating and have submitted it, you can think about it for the next three days and remember other quotes that were better to use. Keep these in mind until you get your grade. Now, you should have at this point gotten at least a 60%. Woohoo! Good job!  

You can rest easy knowing you don’t have to do it again until next week.  

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About the Contributor
Jenna Hawk , Staff Reporter
It’s Jenna’s first year on the print staff. Jenna participates in Spanish club and Green School club. She spends her free time reading, painting, or listening to Lana Del Rey. Jenna loves the cold and finds winter more enjoyable than summer. 
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