SQ3R is a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. The method was first introduced by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher, in his 1941 book Effective Study.
The SQ3R Method was created for college students, but it’s extremely useful for younger students as well. This method offers a more efficient and active approach to reading textbook material and retaining the information. Students all over the world still use SQ3R to better understand what they are reading.
Here is an overview of the SQ3R Method:
The first step is survey or skim. Resist the temptation to immediately start reading the material and instead first go through a chapter and note the headings, sub-headings and other outstanding features such as figures, tables, margin notes, and summary paragraphs. This survey step typically only takes 3-5 minutes, and it provides an outline or framework for what will be presented.
Generating questions about the content that you are reading is a form of inquiry-based learning. In this step, you should identify ideas and formulate questions about the content of the chapter. For example, convert headings and sub-headings into questions, and then look for answers in the content of the text. Other more general questions may also be formulated:
- What is this chapter about?
- What question is this chapter trying to answer?
- How does this information help me?
Use the background work done with “S” and “Q” in order to begin reading actively. This means reading in order to answer the questions raised under “Q”. Passive reading, in contrast, results in merely reading without engaging with the study material.
The second “R” refers to the part known as “Recite.” Try to recite from memory what was learned in the same manner as telling someone else about the information. It is important to use your own words in order to formulate and conceptualize the material. Try recalling and identifying major points (headings / subheadings) and answers to questions from the “Q” step. This recital step may be done either in an oral or written format. It boosts long-term memory recall of the material.
The final “R” is “Review.” Once you reach the end of the passage, review the material by repeating back to yourself what the point of the passage is using your own words. You may then repeat the process on the next reading assignment.
The SQ3R Method may be time-consuming in the beginning stages, but it can save countless hours studying once you get the process down. The method offers a powerful strategy that can rewire your brain and make it more effective at processing information.