ELA Test Prep: SQ3R Test Taking Strategy & Giveaway

SQ3R has been around for several years, it has proven effective in my classroom for several years so it is a strategy I teach every year.  I have added a few extra details to how I use it in my classroom, and feel it has been beneficial for my students.

With the emphasis on text dependent questions in Common Core SQ3R is a great tool to use to help answer these types of questions.  Below you will see what and why I have added my "extra details".

Click on the above image to grab this FREE poster.

Scan: Students do this step naturally, they simply look over the reading material while looking for illustrations, graphic organizers, bold words, number of paragraphs or stanza, etc. Some teachers have students highlight the text features, I don't because I feel students just "color" with the highlighter.

Questions: I require my students to read the questions BEFORE reading the passage.  This is to set a purpose and get them focused on what they are looking for as they read.  I  require my students to write the skill each question is addressing.  We have been practicing this with my Reading Comprehension Question Analysis product.  Requiring them to analyze the question helps them determine the type of information they are looking for as they read the passage.  My students are pretty good at doing this.  In the beginning of the year EVERYTHING was Context Clues, this was the easiest for them to remember.  This time of year they are able to identify all the skills because we have practiced this over and over.

Read:  Students read the passage and make annotations as they read.  I teach my student to be Active Readers.  I tell them I should see them actively interacting with the text, therefore they are to annotate. To simplify it for my students they write the main idea of each paragraph for informational text and a summary of each paragraph for fictional text. For those students who don't like to write or are lower level learners they can simply draw a stick figure picture or a symbol, anything that will help them remember what the section of the text was about.

Reread: Students answer the text dependent questions by looking back into the text and highlighting the proof or evidence that helped them answer each question.  Students also write the problem number next to the highlighted evidence. 

Recheck: Students simply make sure ALL questions have been answered and they have highlighted their evidence.

In the above picture you can see how my student uses SQ3R.  I do have my students write the letters S, Q, R, R, R on their papers to help them keep the steps straight.  This student did not write the problem number next to each highlighted evidence but did a fantastic job on his annotations/summaries.

 I like how this student labeled the parts of the passage and organized his work with the lines.

This student followed all the steps, he did not have a highlighter so he underlined his evidence.

The next two pictures show how my students label their questions.  Some questions you do not know the skill until the passage has been read, but they can still write what they believe it is.  I do this step to get them thinking about what the question is asking for.

Using this strategy has helped my student's reading comprehension.  It requires them to be active readers and to show their work and thinking.  I teach the strategy at the start of school so by the time testing comes around they can follow these steps in their sleep :)

I recently finished up my new Gearing Up for the Test ELA Review Game!  I am excited to use this with my class as we get closer to testing. We don't test until May, but it's never to early to start gathering some fun resources to prepare for the test.

This game reviews review the following Common Core Reading Skills:
Context CluesThemeMain IdeaText StructureText FeaturesInferencingPoint of ViewCharacter TraitsIncluded: COLOR & BW Versons (16 pages each)Directions, Game board, Game pieces, 66 Review Cards

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1 comment

  1. Wahoo! I entered! I hope I win... but if I don't it is a definite purchase! Fabulous way to review!

    Funky in Fourth


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