Reading Fine Print

Reading Fine Print

You will want to keep track of your reading by taking some notes. Notes will help you recall what you read and the thoughts you had while reading. Since you can use these notes for class discussions, or as  a study tool to help with your tests and final, it is a good idea to keep some sort of record of what captures your reading-attention.

I encourage you to take notes while reading. But, don’t let the note taking get in your reading comprehension… you still want to know how the book and story-plot is unfolding. Look below to discover several ways to take notes, chose a method that makes sense for you, or experiment with several.

Noted Thoughts About Notes:


Marginalia is when the reader writes their thoughts and analysis in the margins. If you own the book, which you should, it is easier to keep the notes directly inside the text of the book. A good books is meant to be used… write in the margins, dog-ear the pages, underline (don’t highlight) the text. Writing in the margin does not require you to underline any part of the text. But, underlining the text does require you to write in the margins.

Sticky Notes:

Use Post-its. If you don’t want to deface your books, or you really like to color coordinate… use sticky notes. Sticky notes will help you organize your thoughts. Use different colored sticky notes for different thoughts on theme, symbols, textual analysis, etc. You will want to identify anything that seems important or ideas that you want to come back to later. And, the best part about sticky notes? If you change your mind… you can pull it off an throw it away.

Quote Log:

A quote log is a collection of quotes from your reading that you found to be significant to the overall story plot and/or theme. Not only will you write down the quote, but also the page in which you found the quote. All numbered quotes should be accompanied by a comment of analysis on why the particular quote helps you understand the author, book, or theme. This approach is helpful when you want to identify a specific passage for support of an idea that you have.

Double Entry Journal:

In order to make a double entry journal, you will need several pieces of lined paper. On the lined paper, fold it in half (hot-dog style) and one column should say “Text” and the other column should say “Thoughts”.  Readers who use this format often make notes of the text in the left column and then comment on the text in the right column. A variety on this format uses the titles “Questions” which identifies questions that the reader has at a particular section of the book and “Responses” which provides the reader’s speculations in response to the questions.