Skills Hub

Highlighting and annotating

When you are reading, focus on identifying the main points.

• Read a section of text. When you have found the key points, highlight them.
• Write a summary of the argument in your own words.
• Add notes with your thoughts or questions about the argument. 

Please don't write on library books! You can use sticky notes to mark important sections or photocopy useful pages and annotate your copy.

Before this activity, look at Question as you read.


This activity will help you practise identifying the key ideas in a text using highlighting and annotating. Choose an essay title and print out the text for suggested reading. As you read, highlight the key ideas. Note down your own thoughts or questions.

For each text there is a highlighted and annotated version. You can compare your notes with this version.

Essay title: Is capitalism the cause of or solution to environmental problems?
Suggested reading: Ecology and Society: An Introduction [pdf 1.0 MB] by Luke Martell pages 62-72.

For help look at our example of Martell's annotated text [pdf 0.8 MB].


Essay title: What are the influences affecting children's acquisition of gender roles?
Suggested reading: Chapter 5 Gender Identity and the development of gender roles [pdf 1.8 MB] by Robin Banerjee. (This text has been used with permission from the publisher. Please note: Copyright © The Open University 2005 All rights reserved).

For help look at our example of Banerjee's annotated text [pdf 1.6 MB].

These texts are available in pdf format, to be read via Adobe's Acrobat Reader. If this does not download automatically, please download Acrobat Reader free of charge.

Print Friendly and PDF