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The key to effective reading is to become actively involved with your reading material. The SQ3R Method will help you get the most from your reading assignments.

SQ3R Method

  • SURVEY: Familiarize yourself with each chapter by reading the introduction, summary, and headings and looking at any charts, tables, graphs, and pictures.
  • QUESTION: Write down any questions you have following your survey of the reading material.
  • READ: Read the chapter thoroughly and thoughtfully.
  • RECITE: Immediately after reading the chapter, answer the questions from step 2 and summarize what you just read.
  • REVIEW: Regularly review what you read to enhance your ability to remember.

General Reading Tips

  • Write in your book - Use a pencil to underline the main ideas, write notes in the margins, and draw symbols that emphasize key points. Writing allows you to interact with the material.
  • Read for comprehension not speed - It does not matter how quickly you read your assignments if you cannot remember what you read.
  • Set a time limit for each reading assignment - This will help you to pace yourself and use your time more efficiently.
  • Divide long reading assignments into smaller units - This will make the amount of material less overwhelming and will allow you to stay focused.
  • Schedule periodic breaks - 5-minute break for every 30-minutes of reading.
  • Do it right the first time - One thorough reading now will prepare you for quick reviews later.

Ways To Enhance Retention

  • Review the chapter introduction, summary, headings, charts, graphs, pictures, and other summary information.
  • Teach what you have learned to a real or imaginary audience.
  • Write a summary of the chapter in your own words.
  • Make flash cards which emphasize the main points and test yourself.
  • Personalize the material by relating to your own life experiences.
  • Make a map or outline of the chapter.
  • Write your reactions to what you read. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

For Difficult Subjects

  • Read a children's book on the subject.
  • Read an encyclopedia article about the topic.
  • Discuss the material with a tutor, classmate, or the professor.

College Success: Study Strategies and Skills, Jean A. Reynolds