Brain Hive in the Classroom: Active Reading and Annotation

Theorists, researchers, and in-the-trenches teachers have long understood the value of teaching text annotation as a reading and learning strategy. Coaching students to actively interact with the texts they read through purposeful and succinct note-taking and highlighting practices encourages them to slow down their reading and pay attention to not only what, but how they are learning. When they mark up texts they are reading, students are able to:

  • Ask questions and track confusion
  • Forge connections between the text and prior knowledge and experience
  • Record predictions, hypotheses, and inferences
  • Order and prioritize important information
  • Highlight surprises and “wow” passages

Text annotation has a place in reading across the curriculum. Regardless of whether they are reading a literary or informational text, students should be encouraged to harness the metacognitive power of annotation strategies to tackle new ideas and make meaning out of unfamiliar information in any content area. A student reading a challenging historical novel can highlight moments in the story when characters’ emotional reactions are similar to his or her own experiences in an effort to make the text more relevant to them. Students reading a social studies text can track an author’s main argument and supporting evidence using annotation strategies. A complex scientific text can be digested more easily when students actively record their questions and confusion in the context of the challenging content.

We know you want your students reading closely, actively, and critically, so we’ve worked hard to make sure that we’re providing you with Brain Hive features to help you make this happen in your classroom. When students read eBooks on Brain Hive, they should be able to use their annotation skills in much the same way as they would with physical books. With this in mind, we have built annotation tools into the Brain Hive eReader so that students can actively engage with the texts they are accessing on their desktop computers, laptops, or mobile devices, just as they would with any physical book. Students can certainly highlight text and make notes on what they are reading independently, but teachers can also guide students toward making use of these tools as parts of their assigned classwork. Take a look at the images below; they give you a glimpse at how our highlighting and note-taking tools actually look inside of our eReader.

Highlighted text

annotation 3

 A saved annotation

annotation 2

Are you interested in learning more about how to use Brain Hive’s annotation tools in your classroom? Get in touch with me by phone at 855-554-4483 or via email at

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