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Strategy #2: Annotating

A multi-staged annotation strategy uses annotation symbols, along with pencil underlining and highlighters, to target key concepts and terms. This allows students both to learn as they go and to test their knowledge as they review for exams or create projects related to the reading. It's a good idea to model this strategy early in the semester. Here are instructions you can give to your students:

1. During the first reading: Use pencil only to underline key ideas.

2. After finishing a paragraph or section in a textbook: Review the pencil underlines and then highlight only key ideas and key words. Avoid highlighting more than three to five consecutive words. This helps you isolate major ideas for later review and greater comprehension.

3. When finished highlighting a paragraph: Make annotations in the margin. Consider the purpose of the paragraph. These annotations may include: key ideas to remember, questions, lists, reactions, and notes to think about the content more.

4. After annotating: Finally, transfer your annotations to a Word document or notebook dedicated to the course. This helps consolidate understanding and is a great tool for studying for exams.