Recently in Cathy Reeves’ AP English 3 classes, students have been reading and closely annotating the book “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
For those who don’t know, annotating is where as you read you leave notes and comments about what you have read. Many consider this a grueling task that slows down reading and makes the activity not enjoyable. However, if students really take annotating to heart they will find that it is not a hindrance, but a very useful tool that enables a reader to deeply understand and remember what they are reading.
“Annotations show how [the reader] feels about what has been read, they provide a deeper connection with the book,” Reeves said.
Given that many students did not find it reasonable to buy their own books that they can permanently write or make notes in, most students used sticky notes to leave annotations in books that the school provides for them.
“As a class we spent almost the entirety of five weeks deeply reading and annotating ‘The Scarlet Letter,'” Reeves said.
Since all books owned by the school must be returned and all annotations and comments made on sticky notes be taken out, Reeves found a very creative and artistic way to preserve all of her student’s hard work.
Using large pieces of red paper Reeves made “scarlet A’s” in the hallway where her students have placed all of their sticky-noted annotations within the two large letters. There on the wall now hangs five entire weeks of ideas, comments, questions, and key points made by AP students who have finished the reading of “The Scarlet Letter” and look forward to getting onto their “Dark Earth” book readings where they will be reading a book of their choosing that displays evil in the world.
Anyone who would like to read some ideas and comments of AP English 3 students or just look at a creative preservation of ideas and thoughts can go to room C115 and there in the hallway will hang the two scarlet letters that encompass five weeks of hard work, late nights, and even last minute completions.