SQ3R Active Reading Strategy

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SQ3R is an acronym for survey,
question, read, recite, and
review. SQ3R is an effective
active reading strategy to better
understand written content. It’s
also a great way to empower
students who struggle
concentrating on text.
Additionally, students utilizing
SQ3R have an easier time
recollecting what they’ve read
since they review content several
times in multiple ways.

Students majoring in the
humanities and arts, physical and
biological sciences, psychology,
and other social sciences can
benefit greatly from the SQ3R
strategy. However, students
studying math typically do not
benefit by using this method.
Regardless of whether students
read scholarly articles and
periodicals, textbooks, or
published research, SQ3R can be
utilized to enhance comprehension.
Likewise, the SQ3R strategy is
simple to utilize. SQ3R is a great
method to use when struggling with
memory retention and boredom.


Survey is the first process of the
SQ3R method. Surveying is a
process where students briefly
mentally summarize the main
concepts of a reading assignment.

Begin your summary by briefly
skimming the text for table of
contents, chapter headings,
bulleted lists, sub-headings, and
other clues providing insight into
content. Having a basic idea of
what you’ll be reading will make
it easier to understand content.

Likewise, having a basic
understanding of content will make
reading more structured, enable
students to see how ideas are
interrelated, and help them know
what to look for while reading.

Pay close attention to bolded
terms, italicized phrases, and
topic sentences when assigned
readings lack headings. Topic
sentences and easily identifiable
text usually provide insight into
key concepts. Students who
attentively look for key concepts
typically better comprehend
content than students who rely too
much on headings.

If you have a hard time
remembering key concepts, use a
notepad to create an outline of
these concepts.

Developing an outline, whether on
paper or within your mind, is
essential since complex concepts
are only retained when linked with
supporting concepts. Outlines can
be reviewed after you’re done

Focusing on specific sections of a
text is another component of
surveying. The first thing to do
is to re-summarize and analyze
text. Identify what you previously
understood before reading, and
determine whether you possess
previous experience with the new
concepts you’re learning. After
reading the title, anticipate what
you’ll be studying. Once this is
done, read the initial paragraph
of the text. Most opening
paragraphs preview the main topics
addressed within the text.
Thoroughly review the abstract if
one is available, and review
headings to reiterate main
concepts. Next, read the topic
sentence in each paragraph and the
final summary to completely
familiarize yourself with the main
topics. Also take time to briefly
review charts, photos, and other
visual aids.


Questioning is the second phase of
SQ3R. During this phase, students
anticipate what questions will be
answered after reading the text.
Developing questions will
supplement the outline you’ve

Developing questions will also
narrow your focus on the key
concepts you’re trying to
identify. Reading comprehension is
also important since you’ll be
actively looking for details
within the text, even
unanticipated concepts.
Anticipated questions can
eventually be utilized to prepare
for tests and quizzes.

Create questions by rephrasing
chapter headings into questions.
Answer questions you’ve developed
while reading with current
knowledge. Write down new
questions while summarizing text.
Then, compare anticipated
questions with those identified
while reading.

After organizing main ideas and
developing questions, you’ll be
sufficiently prepared to read the


Now that you’re organized, read
the text. While reading, connect
supporting ideas with main ones.
Identify details that answer
anticipated questions and jot down
new insights.

Students utilizing the SQ3R
strategy should abstain from
marking text since it diverts
attention away from reading.
Instead, write margin notes and
number text with the corresponding
anticipated question.


Take some time to reflect after
reading each chapter. Restate main
ideas aloud and write them down in
a notebook. Review anticipated
questions and re-summarize main
ideas without looking at the text.
Re-summarizing ideas in this
manner will improve short and
long-term memory retention. If you
neglect to recite what you’ve
read, you will more than likely
forget what you’ve learned.


Once you’re done with the
recitation phase, re-summarize the
entire article or chapter to
connect supporting ideas with main
ones. This is an effective way to
assess understanding, organize
main concepts, and enhance memory

Review chapter headings, margin
and other notes, anticipated
questions, and identified answers
while reviewing assigned readings.
Additionally, review highlighted
or stared text. Develop a brief
summary of all the main concepts
and recite them aloud. Many
students benefit by recording
summaries to listen to at later

Repeat this process weekly since
repetition improves memory
retention. Additionally, it
reduces stress since you’ll spend
less time cramming for tests.

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