SQ3R: The best reading strategy

SQ3R or SQRRR is a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review.

The name was introduced by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher in his 1946 book Effective Study.

The method offers a more efficient and active approach to reading textbook material. It was created for college students but is extremely useful for young students as well.

Classrooms all over the world have begun using this method to better understand what they are reading.

Benefits of SQ3R method

  1. It activates the thinking of students and helps them to review their understanding throughout their reading.
  2. It also dissuades students from waiting and then cramming for tests since the five steps requires them to review information and create notes during their initial reading. Their notes from the initial reading become their study guides.

The five components of SQ3R


  • Think about the title: “What do I know? What do I want to know?”
  • Glance over headings and first sentences in paragraphs.
  • Look at illustrations and graphic aids.
  • Read the first paragraph.
  • Read the last paragraph or summary.


  • Turn the title into a question.
  • Write down any questions that come to mind during the survey.
  • Turn headings into questions.
  • Turn subheadings, illustrations and graphic aids into questions.
  • Write down unfamiliar vocabulary words and determine their meaning.


  • Read to search for answers to questions.
  • Respond to questions and use context clues for unfamiliar words.
  • React to unclear passages, confusing terms and questionable statements by generating additional questions.


  • Look away from the answers and look to recall what was read.
  • Recite answers to questions aloud or in writing.
  • Reread text for unanswered questions.


  • Answer the major purpose question.
  • Look over answers and all parts of the chapter to organise information.
  • Summarise the information learned by drawing flow charts, writing a summary, participating in a group discussion, or by studying for a test.

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