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Lesson Plan

Teaching Student Annotation: Constructing Meaning Through Connections

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Teaching Student Annotation: Constructing Meaning Through Connections

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Matthew D. Brown

Matthew D. Brown

Canyon Country, California


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students learn about the purposes and techniques of annotation by examining text closely and critically. They study sample annotations and identify the purposes annotation can serve. Students then practice annotation through a careful reading of a story excerpt, using specific guidelines and writing as many annotations as possible. Students then work in pairs to peer review their annotations, practice using footnotes and PowerPoint to present annotations, and reflect on how creating annotations can change a reader's perspective through personal connection with text.

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  • Making Annotations: A User's Guide: Use this resource guide to help students make connections with text through definition, analysis of author purpose, paraphrasing, personal identification, explaining historical context, and more.

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In his English Journal article "I'll Have Mine Annotated, Please: Helping Students Make Connections with Text" Matthew D. Brown expresses a basic truth in English Language Arts instruction: "Reading is one thing, but getting something of value from what we read is another" (73). Brown uses the avenue of personal connection to facilitate the valuable outcomes that can result from reading and interacting with text. He begins with student-centered questions such as, "What were they thinking about as they read? What connections were they making? What questions did they have, and could they find answers to those questions?" (73). Brown's questions lead to providing students with instruction and opportunities that align with the NCTE Principles of Adolescent Literacy Reform: A Policy Research Brief by "link[ing] their personal experiences and their texts, making connections between the students' existing literacy resources and the ones necessary for various disciplines" (5).

Further Reading

Brown, Matthew D. "I'll Have Mine Annotated, Please: Helping Students Make Connections with Text." English Journal 96-4. (March 2007): 73-78.


National Council of of Teachers of English. 2007. NCTE Principles of Adolescent Literacy Reform: A Policy Research Brief. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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