Back to Basics: SQ3R

Welcome to our Back to Basics series! In this series we explore some of the foundational methods, practices and terminology for teaching reading and writing. This series is for those new to the field of literacy, beginning tutors or those who would just like a refresher. This week we discuss the comprehension strategy called SQ3R.

The SQ3R reading method is a comprehension strategy named after five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review. Students often use this method as a study tool. Yet, it is also useful in a literacy learning environment.

“Research shows that students using SQ3R reading comprehension strategy performed reading activities better than those who did not.” – Dr. Ahmad Asiri & Dr. Mowaffaq. M. Momani

SQ3R was developed by Francis P. Robinson in 1946. It survives today because it continues to prove very useful for readers. Tutors can use this strategy to make reading more engaging and less stressful. The SQ3R method is broken down into five stages:

Survey: Preview the text to develop a general idea about the passage.

Question: Ask questions expecting to find them in the text.

Read: Look for the answers to the questions in the text.

Recite: Rehearse or recite the answers to the questions, out loud or in writing, and make notes for future study.

Review: Review the text by re-reading portions in order to verify the answers.

Some add a fourth “R” to stand for record in between read and recite as the note-taking step.

This strategy is helpful for learners to think about what they’re reading while they’re reading it. It also helps learners remember what they’ve read. For more advice about using the SQ3R method, check out the resources listed below.


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