Irvine English Tutor Tips: A step-by-step guide to Annotation
Annotation is such an important part of a student’s set of study skills. It seems like it takes up a lot of time, but it’s essential in order to conquer confusing topics and difficult to read novels. Annotation isn’t needed for each and every passage a student reads, but it can help them in lots of situations. Many English teachers will teach students how to annotate as part of a practice assignment but, students can use this skill across several subjects. In some cases, students may not be taught specifically how to annotate in which case they can use this step-by-step guide to help them get started, get organized, and be able to recall important information whenever they need it – if you’re struggling with how to annotate your papers, just ask your private Irvine English tutor from TutorNerds.
1. Get the materials
To annotate students effectively will need to have two or three different colored highlighters and a pencil or pen. Neat handwriting is important here so make sure to sharpen that pencil or get a pen with a fine tip. If students are using a photocopy of a textbook, they’ll have to work with the amount of space allotted. On the other hand, if students are printing out something online, it’s helpful if they can copy and paste it into a Word document and make it double spaced. Annotations are a lot easier with larger print and spacing between each line.
2. Annotate as you read
To save time and draw connections students can annotate as they read. If they are reading a novel for English class, for example, they can set aside a different color highlighter for each character so that information will be clearer when they return to study later on. They might decide to circle information regarding the plot and underline information regarding the setting. Alternatively, the teacher may have given instructions on what students are meant to do. Either way, students should have a key code they can refer to after the fact.
3. Remain consistent
It’s important for students to be consistent when it comes to the organization of their annotated passages. For instance, if the character “John” was initially highlighted in yellow, he should be highlighted in yellow throughout the whole novel. If information about the setting was underlined in the first chapter, it should still be underlined in Chapter 7. Staying consistent makes it a lot easier for students to draw conclusions, identify cause and effect, and just study in general.
4. Don’t over-annotate
Some students highlight and underline nearly every sentence in an important passage. When students over-annotate it can become too confusing and be less helpful than if they had not annotated at all. Many students have trouble figuring out what they should and shouldn’t annotate. As a general rule, students should focus on key terms that might appear on an exam, the main characters or essential plot elements in a novel, and any vocabulary words they don’t yet understand. However, learning how to annotate effectively can get a lot more complicated than this so students are encouraged to consult with their classroom teacher or a one-on-one tutor to help them develop this crucial skill (READ: Five tips for success in English class).
5. Create some basic notes
Once students complete the assignment or novel they are currently working on it can be easy to forget what the different annotations meant. In addition to a key code, students should take some basic notes about their strategy and information within that text that they can refer to later on. This will take an extra 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each assignment, but it can save hours on end when it comes time to study for cumulative midterms or finals later in the year.
Get an A in your English classes this year with the help of private Irvine English tutoring. Call us today for more information.