3 Taking Notes and Annotating
Dr. Sandi Van Lieu
As you read materials in college, you’ll want to be sure to take notes, write down thoughts, highlight, and so forth… You can print the readings out and write on the paper or in your textbooks; or if you are doing digital readings, you can take notes in a notebook or even in a blank document in your phone or on your computer.
Annotating is a way to “interact” with the text—it causes you to engage with what you are reading, rather than reading passively. There are various ways to annotate, such as:
- Underlining important items
- Circling key words
- Highlighting critical information
- Writing notes in the margins
- Writing questions you have about what you are reading
- Using sticky notes for thoughts, questions, etc… as your mind is thinking through the text
Watch the following videos on taking notes and active reading:
1. Take a passage from a textbook or lecture that you are currently supposed to be reading in one of your college courses. Use each of the following methods at least once as you take notes:
- Underline important items
- Circle key words
- Highlight critical information
- Write notes in the margins
- Write questions you have about what you are reading
- Using sticky notes for thoughts, questions, etc… as your mind thinks through the text
2. Which methods do you like the best and why?
- “Taking Notes” video by CrashCourse via YouTube.
- “Active Reading” video by Ana Mascara via YouTube.
- “Taking Notes and Annotating,” created by Dr. Sandi Van Lieu and licensed under CC BY NC SA 3.0.