Note-taking Tips


To increase student comprehension and engagement with material by teaching them how to decide which kinds of annotation/note taking strategies exist and how to choose one for themselves.


Students will increase their comprehension of complex texts through close observation and higher level thinking.

Action Steps

Give students the opportunity to reflect on their own note-taking strategies. What is easy about note-taking? What is difficult?

Have a class discussion in which students present their own note-taking strategies and questions.

Present students with the following annotation strategies:

  • Abbreviate.
  • Underline new vocabulary.
  • Skip lines between new ideas.
  • Draw lines between ideas or facts that connect with each other.
  • Take notes using symbols and drawings, as well as words.
  • Place a star next to main ideas. Place a question mark next to things you don’t understand.
  • For literary or history lessons, use these categories: Important Quotations/Meaning of Quotations, Pro/Con Arguments, Facts/Opinions, Arguments/Supporting Evidence.


Facing History’s Two-Column Note-Taking (See Step 4 of Steps for Implementation Section)


Are these strategies helpful?