How to Use AKC’s Articles of the Week
Non-fiction reading is a critical skill for 21st century learners. Students need to know how to set a purpose for reading, and how to read critically, analyzing author’s purpose and message as they do so. In order to support this goal, AKC Public Education has collected articles for students to read, along with questions to encourage students to make connections, support arguments, and analyze the author’s message.
Close reading and text annotation have become popular buzzwords in teacher circles over the past several years. When done in a rote manner, close reading can become boring and tedious. However, close reading and annotating with a purpose helps students remember what they read and find success when answering questions about the text.
In order to annotate meaningfully, students must have a purpose for reading a text. Typically the purpose is to answer the questions at the end. With that in mind, reading the questions first is a great way to set a purpose for reading. Students should also strive to find connections with the text, and always be looking for evidence the author provides to back up his or her position. Even in texts that don’t appear to be persuasive, the author has a perspective or message. Students need to become aware of this fact and look for evidence of it in texts. This is part of the critical thinking that is so essential when weeding through the plethora of content we are all exposed to through the internet and social media.
How to annotate with a purpose:
- Read the questions first. This prepares you to notice when you find evidence in the text to support your answer.
- Make a connection whenever possible. Some students like to draw a stick figure to represent themselves and then use a thought bubble to write their connection to the text. Encourage drawing and doodling when it leads to student engagement.
- Mark where you are confused or have questions. Write your questions in the margins, if using printed copies of the text, or note the paragraph number and write them in a reading journal.
- Summarize or paraphrase key points and evidence of the author’s purpose and perspective.
A helpful article by Dave Stuart, Jr., including rubrics and videos on how to model annotation, can be found in the Resources below.
Interrogating Texts: Six Reading Habits to Develop in Your First Year at Harvard. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://guides.library.harvard.edu/sixreadinghabits
Dave Stuart, Jr. (September 27, 2014). There and Back Again: My Journey with Gallagher’s Article of the Week Assignment, Retrieved from https://davestuartjr.com/article-of-the-week-assignment/