Text Annotation

Learning Strategy
  • Appropriate text
  • writing utensil
  • extra paper if necessary
  • Text Annotation Planning Guide
Target Student

Students who struggle with following along with readings.


Text Annotation is a strategy that allows students to take ownership of what they are reading by writing notes, symbols, bullet points, circles, underlining, and any other written feature that helps them comprehend the text. It can be used across content areas and couple with other strategies. Text Annotation allows students to create a record of their thoughts throughout a reading.

How To


1. Choose an appropriate text to be used.

2. Carefully read the text.

3. Determine what pieces of the text are essential for the lesson. Areas of focus may include one or more of the following: difficult vocabulary, author's tone, text structures, main Ideas, key details, text features, supporting evidence, student questions, author's message, claims and arguments.

4. Decide on what annotation symbols you would like to use and how the students will annotate. A poster or example is encouraged to show these. Symbols and marginalia may be included.


5. Explicitly explain and model the annotation process by using the annotation system you chose in step four.

6. Students annotate their own texts. Refer them to the poster or examples for symbols and illustrations. Begin with a few symbols in the beginning to get students familiar with the concept and gradually increase over time.

7. Facilitate paired or group discussions regarding their annotations.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts

(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.) 


Lapp, D., Mos, B., Grant, M., & Johnson, K. (2015). A close look at close reading: Teaching students to analyze complex texts K-5. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wulffson, T. (2000). Toys! Amazing stories behind some great Inventions. New York: Holt. (I) 

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