Annotation Woes

Ever since the 7th grade we have been taught the “importance” of annotating our books for school. There has been so much focus on annotating that teachers almost always base the majority of your grade on annotations. Supposedly it enhances our understanding of the book, or maybe helps us discover hidden meaning or deep connections that would, otherwise, go unnoticed. Whatever the reasoning behind this monotonous burden it still seems to remain a distracting and useless tool.

As I close out my senior year I realized the impact annotating has had on my experience with school reads. As I begin reading a book, and am forced to comment two to three times every page it draws my focus away from the text and into what I’m going to write next. This constant method of stopping and starting disrupts the flow of the reading thus making the me, the reader, frustrated and confused. I’ve found this cycle occur with every book or writing I am told to annotate.

After several discussions with my peers I have found that I’m not the only one who experiences this hardship. What’s our solution? Socratic seminars. I’m sure we’ve all participated in one before; the class circles up the desks and for the entire class we just discuss the book and talk about what’s going on. Teachers often grade on participation in the discussion. What we see as a perfect solution to out annotation woes is a socratic seminar every several chapters. You read without the interruption of annotations and come to class ready to discuss, being graded on your participation. BOOM! Us: 1 School system: 0