Adapted from the work of Katie Hughes
Charting involves annotating a text in order to show the “work” each paragraph or section (made up of multiple paragraphs) is doing. Charting has many benefits: it helps students to identify what authors are doing in various parts of the text rather than simply what s/he is saying (and this helps students to move away from summarizing and into analyzing); it can serve as a way to thoroughly understand in a detailed way how a text is put together; it brings rhetorical awareness of the specific choices and deliberate “moves” made by authors throughout a text.
How do we do charting?
Break down texts by section or paragraph to analyze what each section/paragraph is doing for the overall argument. Ask, what is the purpose of the section/paragraph? What is the author doing, how, and why? It’s important to select strong verbs to describe what authors do.
- For instance, maybe the author makes a claim, supports a claim, illustrates with examples/anecdotes, describes issues, contextualizes the topic, clarifies misconceptions, rebuts counter arguments, criticizes previous work, appeals to the audience (to their emotions or sense of logic), builds credibility for him/herself, outlines what happens next in the text, etc.
Try this format:
The author [VERB] [IDEA] by [EXPLAIN HOW].
The author then moves on to analyze the politics of language by challenging so-called “Standard American English”.
NOTE: The word “challenging” is also a verb, but it is included in GREEN as part of the “EXPLAIN HOW” part of the sentence.
Here are some additional sample verbs to draw on (avoid thinks, believes, says/states, discusses):
(Constructs an) Analogy
(Sets up a) parallel