My Book Marking System

Part of the reason for marking in a book when reading is to be able to reference it later. Here is my way of marking. I have gradually come to this way of marking, but this system is simple and seems to be helpful.

1. I always underline important concepts. I have found that this is the quickest way to reference when thumbing through a book later on.

2. I use an asterisk [*] in the margin next to sections/sentences that are important to the author’s argument.

3. I circle or box (I use these interchangeably) section headings and subheadings (either numbers or words, whichever is more clear when reading). I also use this for particularly important in text phrases, etc. I have thought about using circles to denote major headings and boxes for minor headings, but so far what I have been doing has been fine.

4. I use an exclamation point [!] in the margin next to a section/sentence I found personally helpful, convicting, etc.

5. I use a question mark [?] in the margin for sections that I don’t fully understand, or still have questions about.

6. I generally write “hmm…” in the margin next to sections I tend to disagree with, but about which I have not yet decided.

7. I write “No” or “Yes” in the margin to denote disagreement or agreement.

For all my margin markings I also draw a vertical line (or bracket), so that I know exactly which part of the underlined section the marking refers to.



About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
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3 Responses to My Book Marking System

  1. Lee says:

    Similar to what I do for “study” books… Books I read for pleasure tend not to get marked at all. But I still keep track of new/interesting phrases and words.

    These days, I transfer my “notes” to electronic form – makes it easier to search for vocabulary words or quotes.

    Just curious – why did you decide to share this?

  2. I thought it would be interesting and hopefully helpful. I have read so much thick theological stuff the last few years, and there is no way that all of that information is going to stick in my head. But if I have a consistently marked book, I can skim over my underlined/marked portions relatively quickly without having to re-read the whole book.

  3. Lee says:

    I see…

    So whose thumbs are shown in the picture? 🙂

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