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Annotating text is a strategy that leads to greater text comprehension because it promotes critical thinking skills and deeper engagement with a text. Annotation can include multiple strategies, but generally refers to highlighting interesting or important parts of a text and writing notes about the text as a person reads. Annotations typically include a person’s thoughts, reflections, and questions about a text as they read. Clusive allows users to annotate digital texts in an online environment.

Try out annotation in Clusive

Annotating text is a strategy that leads to greater text comprehension because it promotes deeper engagement with a text.

Clusive readers can highlight the text and add notes as they read to mark important passages.


Multiple studies provide evidence of the effectiveness of annotating text. Annotation has been shown to increase students’ memory of text, which leads to improved learning. Making notes in the margins encourages students to actively engage with text, identify important points, reflect, and generate comments that makes the text personally relevant to them. This deeper engagement with texts promotes student learning.

Research also suggests that digital annotation may result in improved student outcomes when students are able to collaborate and discuss their annotations.

Despite overall positive findings related to digital annotation and the importance of this feature for student learning, there have been some conflicting study results.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Annotation tools are not required for accessibility.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines

Digital Annotation Examples has compiled a list of assistive technology software that can help students who struggle with reading, including several software programs that utilize annotation and highlighting tools.

Additionally, Common Sense Education has developed a list of “Top Tech for Digital Annotation.”

Further examples of digital annotation tools and features can be found in many eBook readers such as the Kindle, and eBook management software such as Calibre.

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