Cornell Notes

This strategy will allow students to:

  • Comprehend what they are reading but also It asks the readers to ‘dig deep’ into texts, to ensure they develop a deep understanding of the ideas and concepts developed in these texts.
  • Make connections between main ideas and details.
  • Analyse and think critically about the text because they have to identify the most relevant information.
  • Retain the information because they have to be discerning about the relevance and accuracy of the information they select.


  1. Ask students to draw up the table (see example) or provide them with a template.
  2. Ask students to write the topic and date at the top of the page.
  3. As students are reading or listening to the teacher read the text, they use the note-taking column to record information (if teachers read the text, they must stop at strategic intervals and ask students to identify the concepts/key words/representations that they will include in their Cornell Notes). Encourage them to skip a line between ideas and topics. The first few times you will need to model note taking (writing in short hand and incomplete sentences).
  4. After they have finished reading, ask students to identify the main ideas, key points and create questions based on their notes in the right hand column. This helps them to remember the information, make connections and clarify meaning.
  5. At the end of the lesson write a summary of the main ideas at the bottom of the page. Students can sometimes struggle with this section therefore you can scaffold it by giving students a specific detail to focus on

Science example of how to use Cornell Notes:

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