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
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Write in the margins if you own the book.
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If you don't own the book, sticky notes are good and can also easily be removed.
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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
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Passive Annotations do not involve much thought or comprehension. Avoid
excessive underlining and highlighting.
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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
subject.
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
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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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