Saturday, September 3, 2016

Text Code Key

As many of you probably know, the concept of metacognitive active reading - more specifically annotations - is abuzz in the education world. In an earlier post, we shared an activity that included using text codes an annotations to monitor thinking while analyzing poetry, spoken word, and songs.

This upcoming school year we are introducing text codes up front. Students will be introduced to the concept of annotations (we are beginning with sixth graders) with a guided lesson that delivers instruction through modeling. We will first present the Text Code Key (a poster will hang in the room and each student will receive a copy of the key to which they can refer when they use the strategy independently).

Click to view. Make a copy to edit.

Next, students will be introduced to the Vale MS Article of the Week. Because we are approaching the curriculum thematically, the classes will be assigned one AoW on a topic related to the essential question(s) each week for the duration of the unit.

I like to use a projector and write on the white board (an older-style projector or any projection camera device will work), so for modeling the text coding strategy I will project a digital copy. All students will have copies of the article and we will preview the text and conduct a shared reading of the article. This allows students to hear how I make connections and ask questions about the text as I read and encourages them to do the same using their personal background knowledge.

During Reading:  Using the text codes from the key, I will draw the text code in the text and make a note to accompany that code in the margin (space is provided on the article handout). You can set a minimum of codes/annotations for students to make, but it's about quality not quantity.

Students volunteer to share their thinking, and this encourages an analytical conversation. The rest of the Article of the Week assignments (embedded responses) will be done independently for classwork or homework, or can be done in pairs. 

This strategy can work with any genre of text. It incorporates several strategies, including analyzing word choice, purpose, and perspective, as well and making inferences and drawing conclusions based on explicit, implicit, and background information.

As always, please feel free to Make a Copy in Google Doc, adapt, and share!


  1. I've used text codes and annotation strategies with ninth graders and saw success. It is a bit more difficult to motivate them when they haven't had to interact with texts that way before, but it was beneficial for most of the students. This is great that it will be started with lower aged kids.

  2. I appreciate your work. Great effects. How is it possible that you find time.

  3. Text codes is best for students. Every school should use text codes. I appreciate your work. Great effort. Now its time to avail Moving company in Tuscaloosa, AL for more information.


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