What is SQ3R?

SQ3R or SQRRR is the acronym for survey, question, read, recite, and review. It is a strategy for reading and studying.

SQ3R is not a new buzz in education; it was introduced back in 1946, by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher, in his book Effective Study. Basically, it is a sequence designed to increase retention and understanding by encouraging the reader to use each stage of the reading process (Before, during, and after) intentionally, moving from the smaller details to large ideas and back again. The ultimate goal of the SQ3R reading method is to help students to efficiently and actively work on reading and understanding (educational) texts. But it can be beneficial for everyone who, in their work, studies or free times rely on written information and want to understand it better.

There are five different stages used to apply SQ3R in reading a comprehension.

Let’s check’em out:

 SQ3R Method by Frncis P Robinson

Img source: Toolshero.com

S = Survey

Scan through the text and pay attention even to the smaller details. Read topical/sub-topical headings and sentences. Read summaries or conclusions of chapters or books. Try to develop idea of what the author is going to say. Write these notes on paper, and then look it over to get an overall idea of your understanding.

Q= Question

Next, turn paragraph headings into questions (e.g. “Photosynthesis” to “What is photosynthesis? Or what does photosynthesis produce?”). Write these questions out. Also, ask yourself what you already know about the topic and what your goal is for reading the text. Try to understand what does the author wants to convey. To understand better, you can use the left margin to write down your questions about the text in a structured way and note down the answers in the right margin.

R= Read

Read with alertness while keeping the structure from step 1, “S” and the questions from step 2, “Q” in your mind. Pay attention to chapters, sentences printed in bold, explanations under graphs and pictures. Give less attention to unimportant information. Read ‘actively’, write down (additional) questions while you are reading and try to find answers to the previously asked questions. Write down answers and explanations. Take your time for the more complicated parts of the chapter and read, reread and repeat it again if you need to. Lastly, narrate those parts to yourself in your own words.

R= Recall

Now, without looking at your books or notes, mentally visualize, in your own words, the high points of the material immediately upon completing the reading. Explain what you have read to either yourself or someone else. Write a conclusion or a summary in your own words for additional support.

R= Review

At the very last, look at your questions, answers, notes and book to see how well you did recall. Possibly improve your notes, pay extra attention to the parts you found difficult. Read your own questions and their answers again, check if they require any change or any additional information. And finish up with a mental picture of the WHOLE.

Benefits of SQ3R

  • Suitable for all readers.
  • Reduces study time.
  • Increases the ability to grasp essential information.
  • Creates study guides that students can use to review for tests.
  • Generates interest in reading.
  • Make readers curious.
  • Duplicates the mental process of successful learners.
  • Make students acquire the more complex process of learners who merely seem to read and remember.

What’s your take on SQ3R? Are you going to try it?

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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