Academic Tip of the Month – SQ3R Reading Method

By Rugger’s Edge Associate, Maggie Porter

Do you ever struggle to stay focused while reading or have a hard time remembering what you just read? If so, the SQ3R reading method might be right for you! This reading and note-taking method is designed to help increase comprehension and retention of written information. It consists of five components: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. The sequence is built to encourage readers to engage with the text through questioning, reading, and ultimately reviewing. This strategy can be used for reading all types of materials including textbooks, novels, and short passages. Here is a break-down of each step: 


Step 1: Survey

  • Skim through the entire text. Read the headings, sub-headings, and the summaries at the end of each chapter. Surveying the text gives you, the reader, a preview of what you are about to read.

Step 2: Question

  • Jot down questions you want answered. These questions will help guide your notes. A simple way to do this is by turning the paragraph headings into questions. For example, turn “Parts of the Water Cycle” into “What are the Parts of the Water Cycle?”.

Step 3: Read

  • Read the text with intention. Answers the questions you generated in the previous step. Additionally, take notes on new concepts, vocabulary, and any other important information. 

Step 4: Recite

  • Recite what you just read using the notes you created (ideally aloud to reinforce memory). Ask yourself questions about the text and pretend to explain what you have read to someone else. To take it a step further, write a summary in your own words to further boost your understanding. 

Step 5: Review

  • Review the notes you took and look back at the text. “Quiz” yourself by answering (without looking) the questions you wrote down. Review as needed. 

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