Some of you have asked me about how to take active reading notes. Contrary to traditional stereotype, I am NOT suggesting that you take notes in order to regurgitate meaningless facts on a text. I AM suggesting you take notes as a way to think differently and more deeply about the text so that you understand it better.
I suggest that you focus on three categories of ideas:
1)passages that significantly contribute to your understanding;
2)passages that illustrate a particular literary technique or characteristic of the text; and
3)passages that elicit a personal response from you.
As you can see from the example below, when I read the first chapter of Like Water for Chocolate I underlined passages and made notes about (1) symbolism, foreshadowing, and other hints that helped me "get" what the author was trying to say; (2) examples of magical realism, characterization and plot development; and (3) actions or dialogue that made me sit up and take notice (you may find yourself asking questions, or vehemently agreeing/disagreeing, but any time you have an intense reaction is an important moment in the text).
Because many of you will be taking notes on a book you don't own, use your own paper to write the notes-- and please keep track of the page numbers! That way when we discuss them you'll be able to refer to the context.
active reading notes lwcf jan -