How to Implement the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom

This reading comprehension method is named for its five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. By following these steps, learners spend more time reading the most information, study the right parts of the content in the right level of detail, integrate new knowledge with existing knowledge and recall information in the long term.

Learning Outcomes

  • Preview content
  • Set a purpose for reading
  • Ask and answer questions
  • Stimulate interest and curiosity
  • Review information

Implementation

  1. Explain to learners that competent readers do many things while reading, including surveying, questioning, reading, reciting, and reviewing.
  2. Select a content area passage to read and model the five steps.
  3. Throughout each step, discuss what you are modeling and why you are modeling it.
    • Survey:  Scan the content to establish its purpose and get the main ideas.  Look for:
      • Titles and headings
      • Pictures, questions, bold or italicized print
      • Introduction and conclusion
      • First and last sentences in paragraphs
      • Footnotes
    • Question: Write questions to provide purpose and improve concentration. Turn the main headings and pictures into questions. Write down any questions that you have as you review the content.
    • Read: Look for answers to your questions. Create notes and note the main ideas.
    • Recite: Write down what you have learned.
    • Review: It is essential to review the material to understand and remember it. Ask, “Did you understand the information and get a chance to answer all of the questions?”
  4. After your modeling, invite learners to read a selection and practice applying the SQ3R steps independently.
  5. Afterward, ask learners to review their notes and reflect on the five steps in the process. Ask, “Are you amazed about how much you learned and remembered after utilizing the SQ3R tactic?”
  6. Not all readings will be worth the time it takes to complete the SQ3R steps, so help learners understand how and when to apply it.
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