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The SQ3R Method

Instructor: Joelle Brummitt-Yale

Joelle has taught middle school Language Arts and college academic writing. She has a master's degree in education.

SQ3R is a powerful reading strategy that supports student learning. In this lesson, we will learn what the SQ3R method for reading texts is, when to apply it, and what the benefits of using it are.

What Is the SQ3R Method?

Textbooks are jam-packed with information! Each page seems to be chock full of pictures, charts, and sidebars. And then there's the text! Some words are in color, others in italics or bold print, not to mention large chunks of plain text. Surely every little detail on the page doesn't need to be memorized, does it?

Strategically approaching textbook assignments can help a reader not only move through his reading more efficiently but it can also make him a more effective reader and learner. One strategy that has been proven to help readers comprehend and think about texts is SQ3R. The SQ3R method is a 5-step process for working through texts that allows the reader to understand and process information at the same time. The name, SQ3R, is an acronym for the five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review.

Here's how SQ3R works:

1) Survey: While it would seem that a reader should begin reading at the top of the first page of the text and then move sequentially through each page of it until the done, according SQ3R, starting off by surveying the text features of the text is more beneficial because it keys the reader's brain into the main ideas of the text. Text features are the visual supports a writer uses to add meaning to her text. Examples of common text features are bold print, italics, colored text, headings and subheadings, charts, graphics, illustrations, and glossaries or indexes. In SQ3R, the reader surveys or scans the text features prior to reading to preview its information and to focus his reading.

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