The SQ3R Method of Reading
Level 3. The reading is challenging and it is important that you learn it well.
For this, I recommend an old method of reading called SQ3R. There are similar methods that use different letters but the same basic system.
S means Survey.
- When you survey a whole book, as you should at the beginning of the class
- Learn the title. Know who the authors are and learn something about them.
- Study the table of contents. Try to understand how the material is organized.
- Look through several chapters to see how they are organized.
- Check the back of the book: the index, glossary or other helpful information.
- Think about what you already know on the subject.
- Decide looks especially interesting to you.
When you are ready to read a chapter or section of a chapter, do another survey. Look for the
- Title and subtitles
- Bold words or phases
- Information in boxes
- Introduction and Conclusion
- Questions at the ned of the chapter
Q means Question.
Write a list of questions. Start with questions you think your teacher would expect you to answer, questions that might be on a test. Then write questions about things you would most like to learn on the subject.
The first R means Read.
- If you see a large number of new vocabulary words, list them and write definitions. This will make the reading easier to understand.
- If there is an introduction or conclusion, Read those first.
- If there are questions at the end of the chapter, read those next.
- Most people divide the reading into sections. This is easy is the book has section headings and subheadings.
- As you read, take reading notes. List the Main Idea in each section and underline it. Then list other important information or details that you think you should learn or want to learn.
The second R means Recite.
- Look away from your notes and go over the main idea and details. You can do this mentally. You can recite aloud. You could also recite by writing the information down. Then check your notes to see if your memory was complete and correct.
- If you didn’t really understand the material, go over it again, reading slowly and carefully.
- If you still don’t understand, don’t just skip it. You might check the topic on the Internet and see if that helps. You might call a classmate and ask them to explain it to you. You might need to ask the teacher to explain it to you. But, most of the time, when you go through the material three or four times, you will understand.
- If you understood the material but forgot a lot as you recited, go over your notes carefully and recite again. Repeat this until you remember the information completely and correctly.
- Then go to the next section and repeat.
The third R means Review.
Review is a lot like Recite. You begin to Review when you finish reading the chapter or assignment.
- It is best to review the material within an hour and then again before you go to sleep. Review at bedtime is very helpful because your brain makes connections while you sleep helping you remember more of the material and you will remember it longer.
- After the first day, it is best to review the material twice a day for a few days, then once a day, then twice a week, once a week, etc. Before a test, you might go back to reviewing every day for a week, especially at bedtime. You should then be ready for the test.
- If you decide to remember the material for final exams or forever, put your notes in a Review Notebook and review them once weekly, twice a month, monthly, etc. As long as you continue regular reviews – even in once a year, you should be able to remember the information for as long as you want.
Yes it takes longer to read this way, but many students go back and read the assignments again before a test. If you read carefully, learn the vocabulary, understand the material, recite and review, you should never need to read it again. You should know the material well and remember much of it after the class is done.
NOTE: Many high school students never need to use this level of reading. It would be smart to use it in a few of your classes because you will find it extremely helpful in college.
Yes, there is also a level 4. You might want to look at it now but you might find it easier to understand after finishing the website. It assumes that you understand different ways to organize information, different methods of thinking, and different ways to remember. In other words, it combines reading with study skills.
Learning to use this level of reading is especially important before you start college.
The Fourth Level of Reading: SQ3R Plus
The next logical page is Learning to Listen