Online Academic Resources - Reading

Strategies for Academic Comprehension

There are several sets of strategies for Academic Comprehension that are designed to provide a structure to engage readers in thought before, during and after reading. Each set of strategies can lead a reader to be successful. The choice of strategies is up to the individual reader.

1. SQ3R

Survey – Read the chapter title, introductory paragraph, the heading and the summary paragraph. Inspect any graphic aids, such as maps, graphs, tables, diagrams and pictures.

Question – Formulate questions that you expect to find answered in the selection. You can use questions that the author may have listed at the beginning or end of the text or you can turn section headings into questions.

Read – Read to answer the questions formulated in the previous section. Take notes during careful reading.

Recite – Answer the questions that have been formulated without looking at the text or notes. This is a rehearsal step that helps to move the information from short-term to long term memory.

Review – Review the material by rereading portions of the text or your notes to verify the answers you gave in the recite step. This immediate reinforcement of ideas also helps you to retain the information long term.

2. Thieves

Title – Read the title of the chapter and predict what the chapter is about.

Headings – Look at all headings and the table of contents. Turn them into questions that the text will probably answer.

Introduction – Read the introduction and any questions or summaries at the beginning. Predict the main idea.

Everything I Know About It – Think of everything I have seen, read, or done that may relate to this text.

Visuals – Look at pictures, graphs, diagrams, or maps, and read their captions. Notice lists with letters or numbers that point out important information. Read all the notes in the margins and notice bold and italicized words. Make notes (or a web) of what I plan to learn.

End-of-Chapter Material – Read end-of-chapter materials, such as summaries or questions that I will try to answer by reading.

So What? – Why did the author write this? Why am I reading this? Knowing the purpose helps me comprehend.


Text Structure – What does the structure of this text tell me?


Background Knowledge – It will probably help that I already know . . . This part connects to what I know about . . .

Main Idea and Author’s Purpose – So far, this text is about . . . The author wrote this in order to . . .

Summarizing – This section or paragraph was about . . .

Questioning – I wonder why . . . How . . .

Inferring – I bet that . . . because . . . I think that . . . Based on this part, I assume that . . .

Predicting – I predict that . . . because . . .

Word Meaning – This word means . . . because it has the word part . . . The word means . . . because of its context . . .

Metacognition – I don’t get it; I will read it again . . . I will read on to see it this part gets clearer to me . . .