How to Read a Textbook: The SQ3R Method

In this chapter, you will watch a short video that describes a method called SQ3R that provides a way to read efficiently and purposefully.  After the video, you will complete a quiz that tests your knowledge of the content you learned.  If you prefer reading to watching a video, scroll below the video to find a transcript.

Video Transcript

Now that you’ve thought about your personal reasons for reading textbooks, how can you read them effectively? One of the barriers to reading for many students is the time it takes.  So, what strategies can help you read more effectively and efficiently?

First, it’s important to know that you can approach a textbook very differently than a novel. You don’t need to read everything right in order. You will also pay more attention to some sections, and less attention to others. Here’s a process to guide you in your reading.  It’s called the SQ3R strategy.  What does that stand for?

  • Survey
  • Question
  • Read
  • Recite, and
  • Review

Let’s talk about each step.

S- Survey. This step allows you to get an overview of the chapter as a whole – what will you learn by reading?  In this step, you will:

-Read the Learning Objectives or chapter introduction

-You will read the chapter summary and the end (you don’t have to wait until you’re finished the chapter to read the summary)

-You’ll skim the study questions at the end of the chapter

-And you’ll skim the chapter headings, and any important diagrams or charts.

At the end of this step, you should know how this chapter is organized and what you will learn by reading.  You might find it helpful to end this step by making an outline of the chapter on a separate page.

Q– The in S3QR stands for question. This is a key step in reading for a purpose – you need to know what you hope to learn by reading each part of the chapter.  Look at the first chapter heading. Now, make up a question that you will answer by reading.

Use who, what, where, when, and why questions.

R- The first R stands for Read. You will read to answer the questions you just created.  This will help you to stay focused on your purpose for reading.

R– The second R stands for Recite. After reading each section, say the answer out loud. Now, write this down in your notes. This step helps you to summarize the material in your own words, which will support your learning and remembering.  Explaining a concept in your own words demonstrates that you understand it.

R – The last R stands for Review. Look at your notes from the whole chapter.  Think about how different concepts fit together, and fill in any gaps.

Now that you know the steps in the method, it’s time to think more deeply about how this method supports your learning.  You’ll do that by completing the quiz in the next section of the workshop.  The real test will be applying the method to your actual reading – try it out, and see how it works for you.



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Reading Texts: An Interactive Workshop Copyright © 2018 by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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