How to Teach Two-Column Note Taking

Helping Students Take Notes to Support Comprehension and Writing

Welcome and thank you for your interest in this online course! Below you will find information about the course, including a course syllabus and answers to frequently asked questions. We estimate that this course will take approximately 5 hours to complete. Once finished, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. If you have any questions, please email us: [email protected]

Enjoy the course! Joan Sedita, Founder of Keys to Literacy


This course is appropriate for any educator who teaches in grades 4 through 12. The course provides professional development for teaching note taking in any subject. You will learn numerous instructional practices for a variety of literacy skills that students must learn in order to take quality notes. You will also learn scaffolds that can be used to differentiate your instruction to meet individual student needs.

In this course you will:

  • Learn why note taking is a helpful comprehension strategy
  • Be introduced to the two-column note format
  • View classroom examples of notes from text and non-text sources
  • Learn how to teach note taking, including note taking sub-skills such as main idea skills and paraphrasing
  • Learn how to teach note taking from expository and narrative text
  • Learn multiple scaffolds to support students who struggle with note taking
  • Learn how to teach note taking from lecture
  • Learn how to use two-column notes to teach vocabulary
  • Learn how to teach students to use two-column notes to gather information from sources before writing


The course is asynchronous, which means you can log on and off multiple times to complete the course assignments at your own pace.

Partner with Other Educators

This course has been designed to be used by individual educators to increase their proficiency in teaching literacy skills. However, it can also be used within peer learning communities or by an entire staff to provide a shared professional development experience. The course includes activities that can be completed and shared among peers taking the course at the same time.

About Keys to Literacy

Keys to Literacy is a professional development and consulting company specializing in literacy instruction. Our training programs are built upon the most current literacy research and best instructional practices that are tightly aligned with Common Core and other state standards. Our instructional practices are relevant for general educators as Tier I core instruction for all students, and to special educators as Tier II support instruction. Click here to visit the Keys to Literacy website to learn more about our work.

Your Instructor

Joan Sedita
Joan Sedita
The course developer is Joan Sedita, founder of Keys to Literacy and author of the Keys to Literacy professional development programs. Keys to Literacy is based in Massachusetts, and provides literacy professional development to schools across the United States. For over 40 years, Joan has been an experienced educator and nationally recognized teacher trainer. She has authored multiple literacy professional development programs, including The Key Comprehension Routine, The Key Vocabulary Routine, Keys to Beginning Reading, Keys to Content Writing, Keys to Early Writing, and Keys to Close Reading. Beginning in 1975, she worked for 23 years at the Landmark School, a pioneer in the development of literacy intervention programs. As a teacher, principal, and director of the Outreach Teacher Training Program at Landmark, Joan developed expertise, methods, and instructional programs that address the literacy needs of students in grades K-12. Joan was one of the three lead trainers in MA for the Reading First Program and was a LETRS author and trainer. She received her M.Ed. in Reading from Harvard University and her B.A. from Boston College.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course is available to start as soon as you enroll and can be taken at your own pace. We suggest trying to have it done within 3 weeks. You will have access to the course for one year from the date of your enrollment.
What type of payment is accepted for this course?
Credit Card or PayPal: Register here and pay for the course using a credit card or PayPal. You will be given the option when you get to the payment step of the enrollment process. Our online system will send an email receipt after you place your order. To purchase this course using a personal check or Purchase Order (PO) from a school or organization, register at the Keys to Literacy website store: where you can order online or download an online course order form. As soon as we receive your order we will process your registration and give you access to the online course. Please contact us if you have questions: [email protected]
What type of equipment will I need to complete the course?
You will need a computer or tablet with the latest browser and an updated adobe flash player. You will also need a valid and working email address so Keys to Literacy can communicate with you. Also, there are a number of documents and classroom examples that are in slide format that you can download during the course. These downloads will be in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint format, as well as Adobe PDF.
Will I receive a grade for this course?
No grades will be awarded for this course.
Can this course be used towards professional development points?
Depending on your situation, this course can be used for PD points. We highly recommend that you use the information we provide on the course information page to gain prior approval from your principal or professional development coordinator before you start the course to be sure it will count towards your PD points. You will be able to download a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course that indicates 5 hours of time for the course.
How do I get help?
If you have any questions about this course, please contact us via email: [email protected]
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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