Note Taking Resources

Directions: The book you have chosen to read this summer will help you to learn about the thematic topic for your grade. As you read, consider the guiding questions and record your thoughts. You are responsible for identifying and recording textual evidence, as well as reflecting upon and analyzing how the evidence relates to the theme. In September, you will use these notes to write and speak about the text in class and submit them to your teacher for a grade. You may choose from any of the note-taking options listed below, but your notes must fulfill the following requirements:

  • There is no minimum page requirement. However, notes must cover the entire length of the text. Be sure to include notes from the beginning, middle and end of the text.
  • Notes must include textual evidence (include page number) and your thoughts, analysis, interpretation, and/or questions.
  • Notes may be typed or handwritten. If you choose to type the notes, you must have a printed copy to use in class by the second day of school.

Dialectical Journal (Two Column Notes)

Using a two-column format, engage in a written dialogue with the text as you read. In the left-hand column, write the important text (include the page number). In the right-hand column, respond to the text. This is where you can include your reflections, analyses and explanations of how the text connects to the thematic questions. Below please find links to sample dialectical journal entries.

In-Text Annotations

For in-text annotations, you will need to have a physical copy of the book. Record your notes directly in the book or on post-it notes, reflecting how the text connects to the guiding questions. You will need to bring the book and your notes in September. Below please find links to sample in-text annotations.


Create a structured outline focused on the theme and supported with textual evidence. It may be helpful to organize it based on the plot or by guiding questions. Include page numbers with textual evidence. Below please find links to sample outlines.

Visual Notes: Mind Mapping and Sketchnotes

Create a visual representation of text, important characters or plot episodes that connect to the guiding questions. Use lines, arrows, bubbles and/or sketches to link notes to the theme. Below please find linksto sample mind maps and sketchnotes.

For more information on Mind Mapping, visit the sites below:

For more information and ideas about creating Sketchnotes, visit the sites below:

Why draw your notes? “Doodlers, Unite!” TED talk by Sunni Brown

Interested in taking notes online?

There are many websites and resources you can use to create visual notes online if you choose. Before you create online notes, make sure there is an option to save and/or download the notes. These sites offer a limited free trial that you can use.

  • Coggle: create mind maps
  • Ziteboard: create sketchnotes and mind maps
  • Google Drawing: create diagrams, charts and images in google
  • Padlet: arrange your notes into charts, mood boards, storyboards and more