Approaches to the Common Core: STILL MORE THOUGHTS ON ANNOTATION

The Literacy Cookbook COVERSitting in a classroom with fourth-graders today as their teacher led a discussion about how and why we annotate, it occurred to me that this is how I think about annotation:

You walk into a grocery store and start pushing your cart.  You see the produce section, the fruits and vegetables piled high, tantalizing.  If you’re in a hurry, you will see the produce but not think much about it.  As you move forward, it is mostly a blur of colors and shapes.  Oranges, lemons, and limes—part of your background knowledge—are so familiar that you recognize them without thinking.  Other objects you glimpse fleetingly, and feel briefly itchy with unanswered questions (Is that “star fruit”?  What are those thick, knobby, brown things next to the plantains?), but you don’t slow down.  You’re skimming, quickly reading, but not annotating the “text” of the store.

On the other hand, if you take the time to consider what you might want to cook and eat in the next few days, you will stop and pick up various items.  Some objects you may quickly decide to put in your cart (e.g., I need a bag of onions), others you will squeeze and examine (Will these avocadoes be ripe enough by Saturday?).  Unlike someone who zips through the store barely glancing around, the purposeful shopper gets more out of the experience.  She finds meaning in the items she pauses to consider and derives more value from her experience in the store.  So does the reader who annotates.

For more information on annotation, check out The Literacy Cookbook “Nonfiction Reading Strategies” page and The Literacy Cookbook (available for order HERE).


About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Annotation, ELA Common Core Standards, The Literacy Cookbook BOOK, TLC Website Resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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