The SQ5R Study Approach To Reading

The SQ5R study method was developed by psychologist Francis P. Robinson of Ohio State University in 1941.

The thrust behind the method is to enable one to engage actively in the study of textbooks and readings. It also helps one to process information actively which in turn leads to higher memory and mastery of the material.

The SQ5R StudyThe application of SQ5R technique has been widely used to glean, and build a framework to better understand and assimilate information from textbooks as well as other large volume of reading material.

The SQ5R method involves the following:


Before reading the actual chapter, pay attention to the introduction and summary (if given). Also survey the title, headings, and subheadings captions under pictures, charts, bold-faced-words, graphs or maps.


Set the objectives for your reading by creating questions about the material. Turn the titles, headings, and/or subheadings into questions.

Read questions at the end of the chapters or after each subheading. Questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how are apt at this stage. Questions are most beneficial when they are general, covering main topics and important points.


Look for answers to the questions as well as key concepts and supporting details that were first raised. Answer questions at the beginning or end of chapters or study guides. Pay attention to charts, graphs, tables, and pictures. These can serve to present new information as well as tie together concepts from the reading. Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or phrases. Stop and reread parts which are not clear. Read only a section at a time and recite after each section.


In response to the material covered in each section read, answer the questions asked. This can be done at the same time as the reading step, since often response is automatic. The main point of this step is to reflect and think about the material, and take notice of what is important.


It’s always best to go back and highlight or underline key concepts and take notes. This can be done on a separate sheet of paper, on note cards, in the margins of the textbook, or any way that works well for you. (Do this after each section.)


Summarize in your own words as well as going back and re-reading material until you have a good grasp of the subject matter is important.


After reading the entire chapter, review the information aloud or in your head. Talk about the material by sharing the information with others. Try to identify overall themes and relationships between concepts. Make any necessary revisions of your notes or markings so they can be easily understood later.

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