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1.5: Annotating a Text

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    "Annotation" means writing notes while you read, usually directly on the text you are reading. While it is common for students to highlight important information in a text, highlighting is considered a passive activity. We want to take notes as we read. Annotating is an important active reading strategy because we engage with a text as the reader. It is as though we are having a conversation with the writer. We might ask them questions, make predictions and connections, or show our agreement or disagreement. We also read a text more closely and retain it better since taking notes slows down our reading process. When it is time to write about a text or take a test, for instance, we will not need to re-read everything, and we can use our annotations instead. Each reader brings their own ideas and background “baggage” to the text, so your annotations will be different from your classmates. Reading is thinking, and like a mirror or a window as in Figure 1.5.1, annotating makes our thinking visible!

    a youth with a serious expression looks through a car window.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): "Rearview mirror" by ericklawrence is marked with CC BY 2.0.

    Studying an example annotation

    Look at the example annotation below. What observations can you make? Discuss with a partner:

    Notice this!

    First, read the editorial. Think about what parts are important, how the parts connect to each other, and what questions you have.

    Editorial from an online magazine: "A Win for Undocumented Immigrants is a Win for All"

    Guest Column by Tram Nguyen, Virginia Mercury, March 27, 2020

    Every person in Virginia deserves to live in their community free from fear.

    The exclusion of undocumented Virginians from being able to drive has been a crippling barrier to that principle. But the state legislature has now passed a bill that will allow driving for many immigrant residents through driver privilege cards this session. At New Virginia Majority we have organized and advocated for this basic right, and now previously undocumented families and communities will legally be able to drive in the state of Virginia.

    Having the right to drive can be a matter of life and death under everyday circumstances: a sick child that needs immediate medical attention, or a woman getting ready to bring a new life into the world. Most of us take this access for granted. This is a crucial advancement – for those that have waited patiently just to be able to drive themselves to work, take their children to doctor’s appointments, or attend local events, this a chance to become fully active members of their community.

    Ovidia Castillo Rosa, a member of New Virginia Majority’s Loudoun County chapter described it best: ”Not having a driver’s license is like not having feet. Being able to drive would be like having wings. When I have a driver’s license, there are so many things that I’ll have the freedom to do, including starting my own business.”

    Cecilia Cruz, a member of the New Virginia Majority, has been involved in the fight for the right to drive, and has called her representatives, and encouraged her friends and neighbors to march in support. “The streets will be more safe and more money will stay in the state,” she said. “Families will be able to leave their children and go to work in safety, without fear.”

    Providing this credential will give thousands of Virginians the ability to legally drive and is a huge victory. But we recognize driver privilege cards are not the same as driver’s licenses, and there is much more to be done. Our communities, in an era of open and growing institutional racism and xenophobia, understand that having a driver’s privilege card has the potential to make them vulnerable, as it will make them immediately identifiable as an undocumented person and creates a segment of immigrant drivers.

    Our organizers, advocates, and chapter members will continue to fight for a society that treats people equally and with dignity no matter what their status, language, zip code, gender, race, or ethnicity is, and we will work to strengthen privacy protections for all Virginians, regardless of immigration status.

    When the presidential election comes to a close in the fall, we pledge to stand by immigrant communities and keep them informed of both the opportunities and threats presented by this law, regardless of who holds the office.

    We believe in a Virginia that is welcoming and provides an opportunity for all its residents to succeed and live happy and healthy lives. The outcome of this legislative session was a step in the right direction and toward a more inclusive Virginia. But until all of our communities are granted the full protections and access to driver’s licenses, the fight continues.

    Tram Nguyen is co-executive director of New Virginia Majority, which works to builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the commonwealth.

    "A Win for Undocumented Immigrants is a Win for All" was originally published in the Virginia Mercury and is licensed under CC BY NC ND.

    Now look at Figure 1.5.2, an annotation of the same text. What do you notice? What else would you add? Discuss with a partner.

    refer to accessible version of the content
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): "Example annotation" by Gabriel Winer is licensed under CC-BY-NC. Text used verbatim from "A Win for Undocumented Immigrants is a Win for All," originally published in the Virginia Mercury and licensed under CC BY NC ND.

    Figure 1.5.1 shows the text of "A Win for Undocumented Immigrants is a Win for all" by Tram Nguyen with some passages highlighted, with notes that summarize key information, ask questions, and respond to wording choices the writer made.

    See 1.5.1 for an accessible version of the above model annotation

    Active readers use annotation as a way to

    • Make predictions
    • Ask questions and look for answers
    • Visualize (make pictures in our mind or draw an image or diagram)
    • Show agree/disagreements
    • Identify problems and/or solutions
    • Make connections to ourselves (our background, values, etc), other texts (articles, books, movies, etc), or the world (news events, politics, etc)
    • Mark key points
    • Summarize key points/ sections of the reading
    • Make note of information that shocks, surprises, or challenges us and our beliefs
    • Identify unfamiliar vocabulary or parts that are unclear

    Some readers also like to

    • underline or use symbols to point out key information
    • write key words in the margin
    • circle definitions and meanings
    • write questions in the margins where answers can be found
    • identify steps with numbers
    • draw arrows to show relationships
    • write short summaries in the margins

    Practicing annotation

    Now let's use active reading strategies and annotation with a short academic article.

    Try this!

    1. Use the active reading strategies to get an overview of this article.
    2. Annotate as you read the article, “Undocumented Immigrants May Actually Make American Communities Safer – Not More dangerous – New Study Finds.”

    Reading from an online magazine: Undocumented immigrants may actually make American communities safer – not more dangerous – new study finds

    Robert M. Adelman, University at Buffalo and Lesley Reid, University of Alabama

    The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

    The big idea

    Undocumented immigration does not increase the violent crime rate in U.S. metropolitan areas. In fact, it may reduce property crime rates. These are the key findings from our recently published article in the Journal of Crime and Justice, co-authored by Yulin Yang, James Bachmeier and Mike Maciag.

    Research shows that the American communities where immigrants make their homes are more often improved by their presence than harmed by it. Immigrants bring social, cultural and economic activity to the places they live. That makes these places more vital and safer, not more dangerous.

    Why it matters

    People from all social groups and backgrounds commit crimes. But undocumented immigrants, and immigrants more generally, are often baselessly blamed for increasing crime rates – including, repeatedly, by President Donald Trump. In the second and final presidential debate, Trump again claimed undocumented immigrants are rapists and murderers.

    This notion has existed and been studied since the early 20th century, including in a 2005 analysis we conducted with a number of colleagues that concluded immigration did not increase crime rates in U.S. metropolitan areas.

    But this research is often dismissed because most empirical studies cannot separate undocumented immigrants from the total immigrant population. That level of analysis is necessary to draw conclusions about the relationship between undocumented immigration and crime.

    For example, we found in a 2017 study with colleagues that from 1970 to 2010 metropolitan areas with greater concentrations of immigrants, legal and undocumented combined, have less property crime than areas with fewer immigrants, on average. Critics suggested that our findings would not hold if we looked at only the subset of undocumented individuals.

    So we decided to find out if they were right. Our new study is the result of that effort, and it confirms our original findings: Undocumented immigration, on average, has no effect on violent crime across U.S. metropolitan areas.

    In statistical models that did identify a significant relationship between undocumented immigration and crime, we found undocumented immigration reduces property crimes, such as burglary.

    How we do our work

    Using two different estimates of the undocumented immigrant populations for 154 metropolitan areas in our most recent study – one from the Pew Research Center and one from the Migration Population Institute – we examined the effect of undocumented immigration on homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and larceny crime rates.

    Crime rate data came from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report program. Other data were from the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Using a statistical method called regression analysis to examine the data, we found that as the size of the undocumented population increases, the property crime rate decreases, on average. And the size of the undocumented population in a metropolitan area tends to have no impact on the violent crime rate.

    These findings build on the conclusions of a large 2018 study in which researchers Graham Ousey and Charis Kubrin examined 51 studies on immigration and crime published from 1994 to 2014.

    What still isn’t known

    Our analyses looked at broad metropolitan patterns, not the relationship of undocumented immigration and crime rates in distinct, specific places such as New York City and Los Angeles. Nor does our study address the reasons that immigration reduces crime, although there is plenty of other scholarship on that issue.The Conversation

    Robert M. Adelman, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Sociology, University at Buffalo and Lesley Reid, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Interim Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Alabama

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    Reflect on your annotations

    Discuss your annotations with a partner or in small groups. What observations can you make? What worked well? What was confusing? In what way did your annotations reinforce your learning? What kinds of annotations did you apply the most from the list below? Which types of annotations did you not try? Why do you think that is? What do you plan to do differently when you annotate again?

    • Make predictions
    • Ask questions and look for answers
    • Visualize (make pictures in your mind or draw an image or diagram)
    • Show agreements or disagreements
    • Identify problems and/or solutions
    • Make connections to yourself (your background, values, etc), other texts (articles, books, movies, etc), or the world (news events, politics, etc)
    • Mark key points
    • Summarize key points or sections of the reading
    • Make note of information that shocks, surprises, or challenges you and your beliefs
    • Identify parts that are unclear

    Works Cited

    Adelman, Robert M. and Lesley Reid. "Undocumented Immigrants May Actually Make American Communities Safer – Not More Dangerous – New Study Finds." The Conversation, 27 Oct. 2020

    Licenses and Attributions

    CC Licensed Content: Original

    Authored by Marit ter Mate-Martinsen, Santa Barbara City College. License: CC BY NC.

    CC Licensed Content: Previously Published

    "A Win for Undocumented Immigrants is a Win for All" was originally published in the Virginia Mercury and is licensed under CC BY NC ND.

    "Undocumented Immigrants May Actually Make American Communities Safer – Not More Dangerous – New Study Finds" by Robert M. Adelman and Lesley Reid. License: CC BY ND.

    This page titled 1.5: Annotating a Text is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gabriel Winer & Elizabeth Wadell (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .