20 February 2012


Reading Comprehension

Ways of reading

There are many different ways of reading a text:


You make informed guesses about the text


You read quickly through the sentences getting a gist of the understanding of the text


Your eyes dart around a text searching for a specific word/phrase/number

Close reading

You pay close attention to the sentences, taking time to understand the meaning


You ask questions about a text to clarify your ideas

Reading backwards and forwards

When you have to read back in a text or read forward in order to make connections or clarify your ideas


When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they feel


You see a picture in your mind to help gain a better impression or understanding of the text


When someone makes a point that isn’t obvious and you have to read ‘between the lines’ to find the meaning

An active reading strategy

SQ3R is an active reading strategy. It stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recall, and Review.


Before you begin to read a chapter survey it first. This means that you get the gist of it by reading the introduction headings, graphs, tables etc. the summary section, if there is one, and any questions at the end of that chapter. This will focus the mind on what to expect when reading the chapter in full.


After you survey the chapter think up questions that you think the chapter will answer. The headings in the chapter will help you formulate the questions as well as the questions at the end of the chapter and previous examination questions on that topic. Formulating questions before you fully read a chapter makes reading active as you are actively seeking answers while reading, rather than passively reading. Passive reading often results in not knowing what the paragraph is about after you have just read it!


Read the chapter and note down any possible answers to the questions you formulated. Note also any key phrases as you read. Pick up any threads in the chapter (e.g. firstly, secondly…..and finally). Make a list of the points if this format is used. If you do not understand a passage after re-reading it, ask for help. If you understand you will remember more efficiently.


After reading the chapter check if you have answered any of the questions you formulated. Check if you can remember any of the main points. Reread any section you have little information on or those sections that you cannot remember. Use your own words instead of learning the chapter off by heart!


Go over (review) your notes at the end of that study session. A study session ought to last about 40-45 minutes followed by a break. Try to make links between what you have just learned to previously learned information.

SQ3R: A Strategy For Active Reading

SQ3R: A Strategy For Active Reading

SQ3R provides a systematic approach to help improve reading comprehension.

How SQ3R works

S Survey

Look over the whole assignment before you actually start to read it.

1. Check the title.

2. Note the beginning and end to get a notion of how much there is.

3. Pay attention to headings and subheadings.

4. Look at charts, pictures, graphs. Check the captions under each.

5. Quickly read any headnotes, introductory paragraphs and summary sections.

Q Question

Jot down the questions that you personally want answered. Sometimes, turning the headings and subheadings into questions helps.

R Read

1. Read the introductory paragraphs rather carefully.

2. Add to your personal list of questions.

3. Skim the less important points.

4. Add difficult words to your question sheet.

5. Keep asking yourself: What is the main purpose?

R Review

Try to remember each section. What was the main purpose?

What were the chief points? What was the over-all plan?

R Recite

“Tell” your answers to the questions, either to yourself in writing or to another student in conversation. Make a summary which includes the answers to your questions.

Using SQR3 Active Reading for Information

In order to study by reading, students need:

1. To have a general plan.

2. To ask questions.

3. To read actively to discover the answers.

4. To react to what they read

5. To remind themselves of what they have learned.

One of the most effective approaches to study reading is the SQR3 method.

The steps are:

1. Survey the headings and summarize quickly.

2. Turn the first heading into a question.

3. Read the whole section through to answer that question.

4. At the end of the section stop. Recite from memory the answer to the question. Jot the answer down in phrases.

5. At the end of reading review the lesson to organise the ideas and recite various points to fix them in the mind.

Steps 2, 3 and 4 are repeated on each succeeding headed section.