One of the best active reading strategies to incorporate is the ability to annotate. It allows oneself to connect directly to the text by giving their own thoughts to the author’s opinion by agreeing, disagreeing, or questioning their claim. Not only can you feel like you’re engaging in a conversation with the author, but “It’s also a way to have an ongoing conversation with yourself as you move through the text” as Susan Gilroy notes in “Interrogating Texts”. For me personally, my favorite essays to annotate are the ones that I disagree with because they allow me to generate a stronger opinion by thinking in the reverse direction of what the author is trying to say. For example, in Yo-Yo Ma’s “Necessary Edges” paper, I disagreed with his point that “Our science-driven technologically advanced world is breaking down” which allowed me to begin a conversation with myself of how technology is continuing to advance without the help of art. This gave me a stronger opinion because I had a source to argue against which was one of my techniques for active reading (being able to engage with the text and generate a self-to-text conversation). I also noted another point he made about “the effect effect” on my informal reading response by mentioning how people on the edges are the ones on the outside and more educated on 1 category (art or science) than those on this inside. This allowed me to generate a conversation with the text by putting the language into my own thoughts.
Another point Gilroy makes that I find myself doing is when she notes that part of successful annotating is being able to “Take the information apart, look at its parts, and then try to put it back together again in a language that is meaningful to you.” This technique I actually found myself employing in the following essay after Ma’s when I had to read “The Future of Science… Is Art?” by Jonah Lehrer. I found that much of the text was overcomplicated and used strong language. One of his quotes says, “If we want answers to our most essential questions, then we will need to bridge our cultural divide.” At first glance, this didn’t make a lot of sense (like most of his essay in fact), but after breaking it down into a language that made sense, I realized he was trying to say, “To solve problems ahead of us, we need to not only use science, but be able to connect it with art as well.” Once I broke apart and rebuilt his quote into my language, I was able to make a stronger argument to it because I was able to incorporate the text into my own thought processes. As mentioned, I also broke down Ma’s language in my informal response when he notes the equilibrium process of blending arts and sciences. This is an example of critical reading because it takes a strong effort to go back, reread a couple times, and break apart the text into a language that makes the most sense for the reader. These are some of the many key reading strategies that I’ve used in my annotating throughout the semester