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Active Reading (SQ3R – 5 steps Strategy)

Active reading strategies can significantly increase learning new information. This particular technique is adapted from the SQ3R reading method.


Active reading strategies can significantly increase learning new information.


This is one of the most popular active reading strategies.

1. Survey – What can I learn from the text?

Before reading skim the material:

  • Skim the table of contents and find three to five main ideas that will be presented in the text.
  • Pay attention to names, headings and subheadings.
  • Look at the captions under images, tables, diagrams and maps.
  • Pay particular attention to the introductory and final paragraphs, which often contain a summary of the text.

2. Question – What do I hope to learn from the text?

Before reading a section, formulate questions and do the following:

  • Rephrase headings into questions.
  • Look whether the author has formulated questions at the beginning or end of the section.
  • Recall what you already know about the topic and what you still want to learn about it.

3. Read – Look for answers to your questions

  • Read captions under images and diagrams. Pay attention to highlighted information.
  • Be open-minded – pay attention to new ideas and differing opinions.
  • Stop and reread difficult and unclear parts.

4. Recite – Consider what you want to remember from the information obtained.

  • Think about what you’ve read and summarise the main ideas expressed in the text.
  • If you realise there is something you have not fully understood, reread that section.
  • Take notes, expressing ideas in your own words.

5. Recall – Reread your notes and link the information with your own experience.

  • After reading the whole text, reread your own notes and pay attention to the main ideas and connections between the ideas.
  • Link what you have learned with your own experience and other sources of information.

This work by Toms Urdze is licensed under
CC BY-SA 4.0