School-Based Intervention Idea from


Reading Comprehension: Conversing With the Writer Through Text Annotation  (Harris, 1990; Sarkisian, Toscano, Tomkins-Tinch, & Casey, 2003)

Students are likely to increase their retention of information when they interact actively with their reading by jotting comments in the margin of the text.

Students are taught to engage in an ongoing 'conversation' with the writer by recording a running series of brief comments in the margins of the text. Students may write annotations to record their opinions of points raised by the writer, questions triggered by the reading, or vocabulary words that the reader does not know and must look up. NOTE: Because this strategy requires that students write in the margins of a book or periodical, text annotation is suitable for courses in which students have either purchased the textbook or have photocopies of the reading available on which to write.


Harris, Jane (1990). Text annotation and underlining as metacognitive strategies to improve comprehension and retention of expository text. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (Miami).

Sarkisian V., Toscano, M., Tomkins-Tinch, K., & Casey, K. (2003). Reading strategies and critical thinking. Retrieved October 15, 2006, from

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