AP English Literature: Summer Reading & AnnotatingWhat is the point of annotation?While the strategies below are (for the sake of clarity) listedsequentially, you can probably do most of them simultaneously. They may feel awkward at first, and you may have to deploy them very consciously, especially if you are not used to doing anything more than moving your eyes across the page. But they will quickly become habits, and you will notice the difference—in what you “see” in a reading, and in the confidence with which you approach your texts.1. Previewing: Look “around” the text before you start reading.! Annotation encourages you to read actively and thoughtfully.! Annotation provides you with a useful overview to consult before discussions or writing assignments.Every text is a lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work. - novelist Umberto EcoIdeas for annotating literature! Use a pen so you can make circles, brackets, and notes. If you like highlighters, use one for key passages, but don’t get carried away and don’t only highlight.! Look for patterns and label them (motifs, diction, symbols, images, behavior, whatever).! Mark passages that seem to jump out at you because they suggest an important idea or theme—or for any other reason (an arresting figure of speech or image, an intriguingsentence pattern, a striking example of foreshadowing, a key moment in the plot, a bit of dialogue that reveals character, clues about the setting, etc.).! Mark things that puzzle, intrigue, please or displease you. Ask questions, make comments—talk back to the text.! At the ends of chapters or sections, write a bulleted list of key plot events. This not only forces you to think about what happened, see it whole, and identify patterns—but you create a convenient record of the whole work.! Circle words you want to learn or words that jump out at you for some reason. If you don’t want to stop reading, guess, then look the word up and jot down a relevant meaning later. You need not write out a full dictionary definition; it is often helpful to put the relevant meaning in your own words. If SAT prep has dampened your enthusiasm, rediscover the joy of adding to your “word hoard,” as the Beowulf poet calls it.Critical reading—active engagement and interaction with texts—is essential to your academic success at Harvard, and to your intellectual growth. Research has shown that students who read deliberately retain more information and retain it longer. Your college reading assignments will probably be more substantial and more sophisticated than those you are used to from high school. The amount of reading will almost certainly be greater. College students rarely have the luxury of successive re-readings of material,either, given the pace of life in and out of the classroom.