One of my favorite close reading strategies to teach students is SQ3R. I have used this strategy for several years and continue to teach it in the 3-5 classes at my current school. This strategy has fewer steps than UNRAVEL and other similar types of strategies.

SQ3R is usually a Reading Strategy used during reading and students generate questions for what they are reading to help them comprehend the passage, chapter, or book.  The way I use it in my class, and most teachers in my school, is for test prep.  Those reading passages and questions on state assessments can be very intimidating or overwhelming for our students.  I have revised the original SQ3R and our school's version of SQ3R to help prepare  my students for difficult reading passages. {I do have my students use this strategy in ALL subject areas.}

Looking at the poster below you can see some of my adaptations to each of the steps. You can get the poster HERE for Free :)

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.

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 now require my students to write the skill each question is addressing.  We have been practicing this with my Reading Comprehension Question Analysis product.

Read:  Students read the passage and make annotations as they read.  This year's group really needed to chunk information which is why I added annotations.  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.

Reread: Students answer the 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. In my current district they do not allow students to use highlighters on the state assessments, so I simply teach students to underline their evidence with their pencil.

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.  The only problem I have is getting them to do it on their own.  Recently I handed them a passage in which they followed the steps in class to compare with a homework assignment they did not use SQ3R, and compare their grades.  They needed the visual to see how effective this strategy is.  On weekly test I will note who read the questions first and reward them with a piece of candy. Each week I change the step I am looking for and don't tell which one will help them earn a piece of candy.  By the time testing comes around they can follow these steps in their sleep :)

Because I LOVE this strategy so much I've created a FREEBIE for you to use with your students.  The first passage is to help you model and complete each of the steps with your students. The second passage is for them to complete with a partner, and the third passage is for them to complete on their own independently or for homework.  I would LOVE to hear how this strategy worked for your students!

Can you believe we are already half way through January!  I'm not sure about you, but these two weeks have been long and interesting! I was looking forward to this long weekend to catch up on some sleep, laundry, and planning!

Throughout my years of teaching I've always looked forward to the MLK weekend to get caught up and to start planning my for February. With February known as Black History Month, Presidents, and Love I always try to tie my teaching standards to those topics.  One of the books I utilize in February is Freedom Summer.  I love this story of friendship and how it overcomes segregation during a difficult time period in our nation's history.

Last year I used my  Freedom Summer Literacy Companion Pack with a third grade class during our MOY mClass assessments.  Here is an overview of how I used this resource as I taught character traits and reading comprehension with Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles.


Pairs & Whole Group
We started our lesson out using the Fan-N-Pick Context Clues cards (Pairs).  I loved hearing their discussions for the the word "shell".  The sentence in the text was, "We shell butter beans together".  They came up with some pretty good definitions: share, cover, and cook.  They were pretty surprised by the actual definition.  During Whole-Group I read each sentence and we discussed the definitions they came up with and each word's actual definition.

Whole Group & Pairs
I then read aloud Freedom Summer to them, stopping to discuss our vocabulary again, asking guiding questions, etc.  Any time I asked a question I had the students turn and talk to the person next to them before I called on one student for the answer.  Doing this requires ALL students to participate and not just the one or two students who always raise their hand.  Once we read and discussed the story we worked on the graphic organizer.

Whole Group & Pairs & Whole Group
We completed the Time Period and Character components together.  I had them work together with a partner or group to complete the "Important Events" and "Evidence Joe is a Good Friend" components.  We then went over their responses as a  whole class.

They were getting chatty by this time, we had a snow day yesterday, and I was in there first thing this morning.  I assigned them to start working on the Comprehension Brochure independently.  These questions are Higher Order thinking questions and I knew it would be a little bit of a challenge for some of them, but appropriate for them to think about and try.

Now is your chance to WIN a copy of Freedom Summer and my Freedom Summer Literacy Unit Companion! To enter simply PIN any image from this post and comment below with the link to your pin and email.  I will use to choose one lucky winner. Pin-It-To-Win-It will end Jan. 24th and the winner will be announced Jan. 25th.
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