How to Annotate Literature

How to Annotate Literature
How to Annotate Literature
annotate: Verb [-tating, -tated] to add critical or explanatory notes to a written work [Latin nota mark]
Decide on Your Method
Write in the margins if you own the book.
If you don't own the book, sticky notes are good and can also easily be removed.
Finally, you can write on a separate sheet of paper. Be sure to note the page
number and passage you are referring to.
Passive vs. Active Annotations
Passive Annotations do not involve much thought or comprehension. Avoid
excessive underlining and highlighting.
Active Annotations are written connections, questions, and observations. They
require readers to think and express their ideas,
SIFTT Annotating
S – Symbols: A symbol is a literal thing that also stands for something else, like a flag, or a
cross, or fire. Symbols help to discover new layers of meaning.
I – Imagery: Imagery includes words that appeal to one or more of the five senses. Close
attention to imagery is important in understanding an author’s message and attitude toward a
F – Figurative Language: Figurative language includes things like similes, metaphors, and
personification. Figurative language often reveals deeper layers of meaning.
T – Tone: Tone is the overall mood of a piece of literature. Tone can carry as much meaning
to the story as the plot does.
T – Theme: In literature, a theme is a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson
conveyed by a work. This message is usually about life, society or human nature. Themes
explore timeless and universal ideas. Most themes are implied rather than explicitly stated.
Types of Annotation
Questions and Answers
Summary of Main Ideas
Character Descriptions
Possible Test Questions
Patterns / Motifs
Personal Connections to Text
Explanations of Text
Marking Important Passages
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