Adult Learner

Systems Change


When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills. By focusing their Attention on reading with a purpose, learners identify and analyze the components of a text. Learners can annotate to highlight the structure, arguments, or evidence; make connections and inferences; and question the text, which helps build critical literacy, a key component of Problem Solving. Annotations can be especially important for developing Disciplinary Literacy skills, as this activity can help adults make sense of information.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

Instructors should model how to examine a text closely and make effective annotations. Analyzing models of annotated texts from other learners or experts can also be helpful in showing how good readers make sense of their reading. Instructors can provide suggestions for creating annotations with icons or symbols, such as connecting ideas with arrows, adding question marks when confused, or underlining important Vocabulary, but should also allow learners to choose what works best for them.

Developers can create digital annotation tools that allow learners to collaboratively engage with texts. From encouraging learners to react, question, argue, or evaluate a source, products can push the envelope for the kinds of annotations they offer and the purposes they serve. By leveraging affordances like multimedia and social reading online, learners can respond to not only the text but also to their peers, creating a more meaningful discussion.