SQ3R: A Speed Reading/Learning Skills Approach

At Optiminds, one of the areas we focus on is improving reading skills, not just for schoolchildren, but for people of all ages. We utilize a number of reading skills methods, a key one of which is the SQ3R formula.

SQR34SQ3R is a reading comprehension method introduced by Francis Pleasant Robinson in his 1946 book, “Effective Study.” SQ3R stands for the five steps the method is built around—Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. Here’s a brief description of each step:

Survey—Skim the reading material rather than read it. Look through the information for headers, subheads and other outstanding features in the text, such as picture captions, charts and tables. Look over the introductory and final paragraphs to get an idea of what the author is covering. Skimming shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 minutes. The purpose here is to identify ideas and determine what the material is about.

Question—Convert the headers and subheads in the text into questions and write the questions down. Questions might include: What is this chapter about?, What question is the material trying to answer?, and How does this information help me? Write the questions down and look for answers in the content of the text.

Read—Use the background work done with the “Survey” and “Question” steps to begin reading actively, that is, reading to find the answers to your questions. Passive reading, in contrast, results in merely reading without engaging with the study material. Write the answers down next to your questions.

Recite—In your own words, say to yourself or to a partner, out loud, what it is you have just read. Write down the same information. This is a crucial step because the more of your senses that you engage while studying, the more likely you are to remember. The point is to identify major points and answers to your questions.

Review—The information you have written down in the previous steps will provide a study guide for you to work with. Review this information whenever possible, in small chunks of time, while waiting for something, etc. Engaging in short periods of intensive concentration is a very efficient study method.

The SQ3R method helps you think about what you want to get from a document, study it in an appropriate level of detail, integrate new knowledge with existing knowledge and remember the information. It is effective because it requires you to review the material several times and determine, through the use of your study guide, what you do and do not understand prior to moving on.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping people of all ages improve their reading, writing and cognitive skills. Learn more by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


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