How to Annotate a Book

PDF Download | Last Updated on April 12, 2019

Annotating is an excellent way in which you can get the content of your read story organized and go back to it afterward so as to recall the common themes and plot of the concerned text quickly. Annotating while reading will also help you in developing a deeper and closer understanding of the text, be it a non-fiction or fiction. Here are given few of the steps of how you can annotate a book:

Part 1

1. Prepare before reading! You must go through both the front and back jackets of the book as it will help you to gain some knowledge about the author’s background as well as the text. If there is any introduction for the author, you must read it. You must check whether there is any map or glossary included in the book so that it can be used as a reference while reading

2. You must find a summary or any review of the book which will help in approaching from an analytical as well as thematic standpoint right from the beginning. The book’s social, political and historical significance should be determined by critics and other readers.

3. The purpose of your reading should be determined – whether you are reading for pleasure or just because it is there in your syllabus.

4. You should possess an open mind in approaching the book. Few authors believe in an open ending so as to leave it to the readers for their own kind of interpretations. For this, you must gather enough of background information, especially in the case of fiction. Having an open mind will help you in understanding few of the elements of the texts like references, hidden symbols and significant holes in the plot.

Part 2

1. Annotate while reading! Keep highlighting the key information such as ideas, terms, characters and events. For this, you can use highlighter pens. In case you find these highlighters too distracting, then go for normal pen or pencils for underlining the important sections of the text.

2. You can keep the important sections or paragraphs in brackets. Sometimes highlighting long texts become clumsy. Therefore bracketing will help you in determining the important parts what are worth re-reading.

3. You can scribble notes in the margins. Writing down the important sections’ significance in the margins will help you in quickly recalling why you have highlighted that portion.

4. Looking up words which you are unaware of will help you in the long run. When you re-read the section the definition of that particular work will be beneficial.

5. You can summarize each chapter or section briefly. A short summary at the end of each chapter including the important ideas, concepts, and events will keep your memory fresh.

Part 3

1. Finish up after reading! You should complete your assignments promptly. For instance, if you are reading the book because you are asked to do for a class and given an essay to write, you should complete it right after reading the book as the content of the story remains still fresh in your mind.

2. You should review your notes. Reading of the highlighted sections along with other notes will help you in skimming the entire book again.

3. You can add up or correct the parts that you have missed. You should always carry the book to your class so that you can match your interpretations and correct the incorrect or misunderstood portions.

book annotation



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Author: Donna Jean

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