The SQ3R Method

SQ3R or SQRRR is a reading method which has been used since 19461. It is a method not only meant to be able to read faster but to comprehend more from the material being read. SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review. It has been developed with college students in mind2 but has been adapted overtime in other facets where reading and comprehension is necessary. Its primary purpose is to improve concentration and memory skills while reading so the reader can better understand what he’s reading.

SQ3R has been adapted too as a speed reading technique because it answers the need to sharpen retention skills while reading fast. After all, being able to read fast will be useless if you would not be able to understand what you have read.

SURVEY
Spend a few minutes to look over the reading material carefully. Read the title, headings, subheadings, introduction and summary paragraphs, bold or italicized words or sentences, and even the descriptions of images if there are any so that you can get the main idea of the material.

QUESTION
Change the title, headings, and subheadings and some sentences or paragraphs into questions. Read the questions given by the writer too. You may do this simultaneous to surveying the material. This requires conscious effort but doing so will keep you alert and focused on the material. This step will help you see where the material is leading to as well as its entire message.

Writing down the questions you’ve formed will be helpful and will add to your concentration and direction.

READ
Now read the paragraphs with alertness to be able to answer the questions you’ve formed. Consciously search for the answers to your questions. As much as possible, answer the questions with your own words to demonstrate better comprehension.

You may also write down your answers but just minimize your notes.

RECALL
Aside from formulating your answers in your own words, speak it now in your own words. Saying your answers aloud is another way to reinforce your comprehension of the material. This will make you remember more the ideas in the material because you are forced to think about the points which you have understood. Don’t look back at the book or your written questions or notes if you made some at this point. If you won’t be able to say it now then you won’t be able to say it again tomorrow and the week after.

REVIEW
Look over the whole material again along with your written notes or questions or just try to recall every question and answer you’ve formulated if you did not write them down.

If this method is used by students for their classroom lessons, then at REVIEW, they need to check for the significance of the material in their studies. But for speed reading, what you need to check on is how much you have remembered and understood from the material and how fast you were able to do this.

Again, practice is the main key to mastering this method. This also eventually helps eliminate the poor reading habit of rereading.

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