PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) define reading literacy as “the ability to understand, use and reflect on written texts in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate effectively in society”. (Education at a Glance, OECD, Paris, 2002, Glossary).

When I last studied, it was all photocopies, highlighters, pencils and books. I was liberal with my scribblings and colour on the photocopies, but very careful with my books/novels. Looking back on them over the last few weeks, I am disappointed I did not write more in the margins. What little bits I did find are fascinating to read!

Annotation converts the reader from a consumer into an active participant, leading to motivation and a better sense of achievement. Personally, my power to recall a text in which I have annotated notes is incomparably stronger in comparison to one which I have just simply read. I think more critically and I am more likely to formulate a personalized response when involved in annotation.

The use of collaboration in annotation is a fairly new concept to me and one I find interesting. I have worked proofreading journals for the last few years. My editor (via Qatar) sends myself and a couple of other colleagues (in various countries) a document via Adobe Acrobat. It provides great insight into other’s knowledge and culture to see what we choose to edit and annotate.

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