A 5 Step Reading Strategy: How To Build Success, Confidence, Self Esteem

When a technician or repair person comes to provide service what do they have? A tool box! Often times it’s one they’ve built themselves, one tool at a time as they’ve grown into their specialty, and what’s so great – they own these tools. When you are the owner of your own tool box and the tools it contains, you feel a sense of confidence.

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As a reader you can also build your own tool box and fill it with your own tools, however your tools will be called skills, strategies, techniques or methods. An example of a useful reading strategy or tool is SQ3R, a five-step reading strategy where each letter stands for one step in the strategy: SURVEY, QUESTION, READ, (W) RITE, or RECITE and REVIEW.

Using SQ3R will help you to better understand and remember what you read. In addition, it also makes it easier to prepare for tests, quizzes and class discussions. Just as the technician or repair person comes to a job with confidence because they know that they have the right tools, you will approach a reading assignment with confidence.

Read to learn what each letter stands for and what to do with each one.

1. S stands for SURVEY;Before you read look through the entire chapter. Note the title, subtitles, pictures, graphs, tables or maps if there are any. Also look for introductions, summaries and conclusions. When you survey which should take less than five minutes, you should have an idea what the chapter is about.

2. Q stands for QUESTION; Turn the title, subtitles and sometimes if necessary the first sentence of some paragraphs into questions. Using the 5 W’s and the H i.e. who, what, when, why, and how, for example, turn the title – Four River Valleys- into What are the four river valleys? Where are they located or why are they important? This will also help you to stay focused and can be done in less than five minutes. Remember: you are not reading yet...you are only asking for making up questions.

3. R stands for READ: You can now take your time and read for the answers to your questions. You may decide to change a question or turn it into several questions which is okay to do, but you must concentrate and stay focused. This is not working hard, this is working smart.

4. R stands for (W)rite or RECITE: Write the answers to your questions or recite the answers to your questions. Sometimes your questions may be the same or similar questions on your class test. What a bonus! It is recommended that you use your own words rather than copy the exact sentence from the textbook.

5. R stands for REVIEW: Now that you have a few questions maybe 5 or 6 and the answers to each one, either cover the answers and see if you can answer them yourself or ask someone to review the questions with you. A good way to work with a parent, sibling or a classmate.

Continue to review and test yourself and see how you will become a more confident reader and student. Practice this strategy often.

Remember you are building your own toolbox with your own tools that will help you to become more confident, more focused and it will also help you to be better prepared for class discussions, quizzes and tests.

In other words, you will build your own tool box with the skills that will build success, confidence and self esteem.

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