SQ3R is an outstanding strategy to teach students of all ages so they can read and comprehend nonfiction reading more effectively. In case you're not aware, recent studies show that...
40% of fourth graders cannot read at a "basic" level. Only 30% are deemed "proficient" and 7% are considered "advanced" (National Assessment of Education Progress, 1999).
This figure should make educators a bit uneasy because Common Core Standard focus on nonfiction reading very heavily. Nonfiction is more difficult to read than fiction, so teachers must begin teaching students strategies for their thinking that ensure adequate understanding of the material.
Also, students need to become familiar with the various structures of nonfiction so they can better comprehend what they are reading. The article following this one will focus on these structures and how to teach them. For now, though, SQ3R is the amazing strategy that you need to teach and reteach throughout the school year until students are using it automatically on their own.
You can introduce this strategy in a whole group session, and practice it in small groups, until eventually you can assign nonfiction reading with the expectation that students use the strategy. SQ3R can be used as young as 2nd grade, and up through high school!
SQ3R stands for:
- S stands for Survey - Look throughout the entire nonfiction article or passage and read all titles and subtitles, pictures and captions, charts and diagrams, and anything else included other than the text itself. Think about them and make a prediction about what the passage is mostly about.
- Q stands for Question - Turn the Title and every subtitles into a question and write it down in the margins of the passage, or on a sticky note. While reading, student will be attempting to answer these questions. If there are no subtitles, have students think of questions based on reading the first sentence of each paragraph, or from surveying the pictures and other features.
The 3 R's stand for :
- Read (Actively) - As students read the passage they need to be questioning their reading, jotting important information down on sticky notes, attempting to answer the questions they wrote, and circling or highlighting words that stand out that may be important vocabulary words. I also have them retell what they read after each paragraph.
- Recite (After reading) - Students go back through the text and underline or highlight the most important information they read. They can then recite orally what they learned in their own words. This is useful for them if they have previously read text that they might be having an exam over. They should always go back through the reading and recite and remember the most important information.
- Review - Students can write a summary about what they have read, covering only the most important information. They can also write questions for any notes they took during their reading.
If students practice this enough, they will learn that nonfiction needs to be read in a thorough fashion. They should be thinking while reading, questioning the material, wondering about things, and taking note of the most important information and words. SQ3R is a valuable tool for them to take all the way to college!