For the past two weeks, students have been diving right into one of the most beloved 8th grade novel studies, The Outsiders. They are required to annotate – or text mark- their books using sticky-notes. The majority of the reading will be assigned as homework so we can spend time in class truly analyzing the text. I thought I’d take a moment and explain the value of text-marking.
Students can improve the depth of their reading and extend their understanding over long periods of time when they text mark. These notations are not necessarily difficult, and they are completely personal and exceptionally useful.
The advantage of having an annotated text instead of a set of note papers and a text is that all the information is together and inseparable. This means students will have less papers to keep organized.
What students get from annotating is a deeper initial reading and a lasting understanding of the text. I am thrilled to hear students engage with the author through their annotations. For example, they are asking questions, maybe stopping to argue or evaluate a specific event in the story, and clarifying important issues—much like having a teacher with you in the room as you read.
It has been very exciting to listen to 8th graders discuss their annotations!