My Annotations

The process of annotating is one that I associate purely with academics. Throughout middle and high school, my English teachers would do random “annotation checks” where they would walk around the class to see if our books were marked up, and then give us a grade. This annoyed me, and I now have a very negative association with annotating, but it did drive into my mind a helpful process to use when reading texts. Underlining and starring important phrases or events in a book or play made me slow down my reading pace, as I had to determine what was happening and then react to it. Stars, brackets, and underlining also made it easier to find quotes and evidence to use for papers. If I did not understand something, I put question marks next to what confused me, and it allowed me to form questions for class. I wrote simple reactions (sad/happy face, ugh, ew, no, yes) in the margins, and also wrote short summaries at the end of some pages or chapters to help me mull through and determine the important parts of what I had read. I also added comments from class discussions in the margins to enhance my understanding of the text.

When reading for pleasure, I rarely, if ever, annotate. The process of annotating, at least for me, disrupts the flow of reading and takes the joy out of the process in the first place. If I enjoy a specific phrase or sentence, I might underline it, but it is uncommon that I take the time to do that. I want to experience the book as I read it, and not have to worry about underlining phrases or looking for particular imagery. For some people, annotating might add to their reading experience, but because I have such a negative association with annotations, it does not. If I want to analyze a book, I will annotate; if reading for the sake of reading, I will leave the book untouched.

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