What is the SQ3R Study Strategy?
Reading and retaining information from content-area textbooks is often challenging to students, even if they are strong readers. The SQ3R study strategy is an effective way to help students read and comprehend non-fiction textbooks. This technique can be used from upper elementary all the way through college. The SQ3R study strategy has five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review. If students go through all five of these steps when they are reading their content-area textbooks, they will have a better understanding and retention of the information.
The Steps in the SQ3R Study Strategy
Textbooks are usually organized in chapters with short sections separated by headings and subheadings, as well as an introduction and summary for each chapter. This separates the text into manageable chunks, and also emphasizes important concepts. Here is a description of the five steps of the SQ3R strategy and how to use them when reading a textbook.
1. Survey- This initial step consists of previewing the reading assignment by looking at the headings and subheadings, and skimming the text. Students should pay attention to the words that appear in bold type, and also look at the pictures, charts, maps and graphs and read the captions. In addition, students should read the introduction to the chapter and the summary at the end of the chapter. This will give them a good overview of what is to be learned in the entire chapter.
2. Question- The second step involves turning all of the headings and subheadings into questions. If there is a list of questions at the end of the chapter, students can take these questions and rephrase them in their own words. All of the questions should be written down in a notebook or on a sheet of paper. The questions will give students a purpose and help them focus on their reading.
3. Read- This step involves carefully reading each section of the text rather than the quick skimming that was done in step one. As the students read, they should be actively looking for the answers to the questions that they have written down.
4. Recite- After they have finished reading each section, students should recite the answers to the questions for that section, and write the answers down.
5. Review- After completing the entire chapter, students should review it by looking at the questions and trying to recall the answers without looking at their notes. They can also write a summary of each section. These notes can then be used to review and study for exams.
Once students have completed all of the steps in the SQ3R strategy, they should have an excellent grasp of the material.
Tompkins, Gail. Literacy for the 21st Century, 3rd Edition. Pearson Education, 2003.