If I could choose one skill that every one of my students achieves by the time they leave my classroom, it would be how to have a personal conversation with every piece of literature they read. That’s why I focus so much on teaching text annotation to my classes. It’s an essential close reading strategy that provides innumerable benefits to a young person’s life (both in school and out). As educators, you and I both know that annotating a text is more than simply circling random words and underlining what may or may not be topic sentences. Annotation helps students track their thinking as they read in order to reflect on the evolution of their understanding. When applied effectively, the practice of annotation encourages rich interactions between reader and text. As with all things worth doing, teaching text annotation to your students requires a differentiated approach, consistent practice, and follow-through. You’ll always have a few “squeaky wheels” who insist there’s no point in ma...