• Marking the Text Reading Strategy
    Marking the Text

    What is it?

    Marking the text is an active reading strategy that asks students to identify information in the text that is relevant to the reading purpose. This strategy has three distinct marks: numbering paragraphs, underlining, and circling.

    When should I use it?

    A fundamental strategy, marking the text ought to be used whenever students are asked to read academic texts. When students are asked to read arguments, students should underline the author’s claims and circle key terms and names of people who are essential to the argument. 

    Why should I use it?

    When students mark texts purposefully, they are actively engaged in meaning making. To mark texts effectively, students must evaluate an entire passage and begin to recognize and isolate the key information. Once the text is marked, students will be able to quickly reference information that pertains to the reading purpose. 

    Number the Paragraphs

    1, 2, 3 ...
    • Before you read, take a moment and number the paragraphs in the section you are planning to read. Start with the number one and continue numbering sequentially until you reach the end of the text or reading assignment. Write the number near the paragraph indention and circle the number; write it small enough so that you have room to write in the margin.
    • Like page numbers, paragraph numbers will act as a reference so you can easily refer to specific sections of the text.


    Circle Key Terms, Names of People, Names of Places, and or Dates


    In order to identify a key term, consider if the word or phrase is…
    • repeated
    • defined by the author
    • used to explain or represent an idea
    • used in an original (unique) way
    • a central concept or idea
    • relevant to one’s reading purpose 
    Underline an Author’s Claims

    A claim is an arguable statement or assertion made by the author. Data, facts, or other backing should support an author’s assertion. Consider the following statements:   

    • A claim may appear anywhere in the text (beginning, middle, or end)
    • A claim may not appear explicitly in the argument, so the reader must infer it from the evidence presented in the text
    • Often, an author will make several claims throughout his or her argument  
    • An author may signal his or her claim, letting you know that this is his or her position

    Underline Relevant Information

    While reading informational texts (i.e., textbooks, reference books, etc.) read carefully to identify information that is relevant to the reading task. Relevant information might include:     
    • A process
    • Evidence
    • Definitions
    • Explanations
    • Descriptions
    • Data/Statistics