SQ4R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review, Respond. It is an
effective and efficient strategy.
Survey Look over, preview, the entire reading assignment to get an overview of
what the piece is about:
1. Read the title, author, date, and any other background information important to
the purpose of the assignment.
2. Read the introduction and the first two or three paragraphs.
3. Read all of the subheadings, chapter titles, and boldfaced or italicized words.
4. Examine the illustrations, graphs, charts, pictures, and other graphic
5. Read the last paragraph and any questions, summaries, vocabulary which
follow the selection.
6. Identify the author’s style, the method of arranging sentences and paragraphs.
(Main idea followed by details or details first?) Which signal words are used?
Question: To question is to “wonder’ about the material and what it covers. After
you finish surveying the piece, write down some questions. Turn each
subheading into a question. This will help establish a positive “inquiring-mind”
attitude for the actual reading.
Read: Now skim a section. Then carefully read the entire section; however, read
it in chunks. Read from subheading to subheading or a few paragraphs at a
time. Highlight, take notes, stop, and, when applicable, consider the question that
you created from the subheading. Can you answer the question? If you can,
read on. If not, reread. Before going on to another section, note important
vocabulary words, summarize what you have read.
Recite: Think about what you have just read by answering out loud all of the
major questions covered in the reading. This should be done at the end of each
major section and again at the end of the entire reading. Apply the who, what,
when, where, why, and how questions. If you have never tried reciting as you
read, you are in for a pleasant surprise. It will help you not only get through the
reading, but will also help you remember the material for a much longer time than
simply reading and walking away.
Review: Look over all that you have written, scribbled, or drawn as you were
reading. Depending upon the purpose, you may want to review with another
person. Try explaining the main ideas of what you have read, ask question of
one another. When you review alone, use note cards or study sheets.
Respond: Solidify your notes in your own words. Play with the information.
Create outlines, webs. Create possible test questions. See what you know,
what you don’t know, and develop an approach to find the information that you