Academic Reading

Have you ever read an entire page of a textbook or learning module and realized that you can’t really remember anything about what you just read? This happens to many students: your eyes are looking at every word on the page, but nothing is going into your brain. 

How to Read Your Textbooks

One way to solve this problem is to use a reading method called SQ3R, which stands for survey, question, read, recite and review. It’s easy to use and will help you get more out of your reading and be better prepared for studying. 

The basic ideas of SQ3R are: 

  1. Survey: glance through the chapter or module before you start reading. 
  2. Questions: read any chapter questions before you read anything else. 
  3. Read: read in very short sections (even one paragraph at a time can be a good idea!).
  4. Recite: stop and process each short section by recalling and explaining it aloud in your own words. Then choose key words, using notes or a highlighter, that will trigger your memory.  
  5. Review: study by going to a heading or sub-heading in your chapter, module or notes and recalling and explaining the material to yourself aloud. Review frequently! Educational research shows that many short study sessions are more effective than one long study session. 

If you’d like more details about using SQ3R or want to learn about more strategies to improve your academic reading, connect with the learning skills coordinator on your campus.


Reading techniques