Areas of Expertise


Adolescent Literacy

Reading Strategies

Strategy: SQ3R

Armbruster, B., Anderson, T., Armstrong, J., Wise, M., Janisch, C., & Meyer, L. (1991). Reading and questioning in content areas. Journal of Reading Behaviour, 23, 35-59.

Robinson, F. P. (1946). Effective study. New York: Harper and Bros.

Robinson, F. P. (1961). Effective study (Rev. ed.). New York: Harper & Row.


In the SQ3R strategy, students use five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review. By doing this, they learn to read and review information in content-area reading assignments.


  1. Survey Step: Students are encouraged to read and think about the chapter title, the introductory paragraph, the headings and subheadings, the concluding paragraph, and any end-of-the-chapter questions.
  2. Question Step: Before the students read a section of the text, the heading is turned into a question. This will give the reader a purpose for reading.
  3. Read Step: Students then read the passage to find the answer to the question. It is important to remember that each section is read separately.
  4. Recite Step: After reading the section, the students pause, reflect, and recite from memory the answer to the question that was developed from each heading of the text and also any other important information.
  5. Review Step: Students now review everything they have read by going back and asking themselves each of the questions again as well as noting the answers they learned from the reading. If the questions were asked orally in the Recite Step, the answers now can be written down.


  1. An appropriate expository text is chosen.
  2. Students are asked to begin with the "S-Survey" by looking through the entire chapter and reading each heading, looking at each picture, reading each caption, and looking carefully at each map or graph that might be included. By doing this, they will gain a sense of the main ideas presented in the material as well as activate and build prior knowledge. If there is a summary or questions at the end of the chapter, these also should be read.
  3. Next the "Q-Question" portion of the strategy is addressed. The students are instructed to turn one subheading at a time into a question and write it down. This sets a purpose for reading.
  4. Each section is then "R-Read" to answer the question.
  5. To clarify the question in the student's mind, it is important at this point for the student to answer the question in his or her own words. This gives them a chance to silently "R-Recite" what they have learned.
  6. Finally, when all of the material has been explored in this way, it is time for the students to "R-Review" what has been read. This can be done with either an oral or written summarization, which should include the main idea of each section along with supporting details.

The goal of this exercise is to teach students how to self-monitor their own reading so they can determine if it makes sense.


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