Lee's Advice for Active Reading

last revised 1/7/08


Because I want to counter the unfortunate high school practice of not letting students write in their books, and because I want you to be active, critical readers who look at texts not just for what they say but how they say it (rhetorical choices), I advocate (and give you points for) highlighting and annotating our readings (or taking good notes if you are watching something).  This will not only help you understand writing and rhetoric more deeply, but it is something I do automatically when I need to be able to talk or write intelligently and complexly about a specific text.  This is especially important with long texts like scholarly essays or books because I want to be able to quickly find the good spots later without re-reading the whole text.  This also helps me be able to cite my sources properly and precisely which you will be learning in this class.

In an abstract nutshell, these are the kinds of things I tend to highlight (or underline) as I read:

I also advocate annotating (writing comments in the margins) along with underlining because it helps me remember what I was thinking when I read and underlined the text.  In a nutshell, these are the kinds of things I tend to write in my annotations: