Reading and Writing about Literature The basics of Annotation.

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Reading and Writing about LiteratureThe basics of Annotation Why do we read literature? Literature reflects not only the mind of the author but also the larger world and the ways in which people interact with that world and with one another. Even though usually fictional, we nevertheless learn about real life. Literature can indirectly affect our actions and shape our world. Why do we write about literature? Real-world usefulnessBy forcing us to organize our thoughts and state clearly what we think, writing an essay helps us to clarify what we know and believe. Writing gives US a chance to affect the thinking of others. AND, we actually learn as we write by making new discoveries and connections during the process of writing. The Role of Good Reading Good reading is the first step toward successful writing. Good readers know to SLOW DOWN. Good readers recognize that the best reading is often rereading. Good reading is active reading or critical reading. Good reading is thoughtful consideration of a text. Hidden Meaning in Literature Authors are NOT trying to trick us!

Not like digging for buried treasure, but more like a systematic intellectual process.

Authors use the human experience just like real-life lessons. Annotating, Note taking & Journals. Recap: Active Readers slow down and reread. Active readers also read with a pen or pencil in hand in order to annotate and take notes. There is no right or wrong way to annotate a text as long as youre thinking critically. Annotating takes practice! Youll develop your own style the more you practice. Suggestions for Annotations Underline, circle, or otherwise highlight passages that strike you as particularly important. Make notes in the margins as to WHY certain points strike you. (Helps you remember!) Ask questions of the text. (Later you can try answering them.)

Suggestions for Annotations Talk back to the text! (Suspicious, offensive, just plain wrong?) Look for unusual features of language; authors rely on devices and style in order to create meaning. Look for patterns of images, repeated words or phrases, funny grammar or punctuation, and devices.Develop your own system of shorthand. Be creative, but be consistent. Note-taking/Reading Journals Summarizing chapters of novels. Try answering some of the questions you asked of the text; look for multiple answers. Reflect on any connections you make between a piece of literature and your own life and ideas. Use the dictionary; not all words are definable from context alone. Works Cited Gardner, Janet E. Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004. Print.


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