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Strategy Improves Reading Comprehension

This Strategy Increases Reading Understanding and Recall


Updated May 16, 2014

Schoolboy reading a book in class.
John Slater/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) in basic reading , reading comprehension, and dyslexia need effective strategies to understand what they read and to remember details of what they've read. This strategy can also help non-disabled students improve reading comprehension and retention. The PQ4R strategy is a good study skill that can be adapted for students of all ages.

This strategy will improve the student's reading comprehension. It also may improve recall of facts by as much as 70%. PQ4R is an acronym for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review. here are the steps:

  1. Preview: Look through the pages of your reading passage and read the headings of the chapter and any sections dividing the chapter. Read the first and last paragraph in each section. View the illustrations in each section. Read the captions under the pictures and take a few minutes to look at charts, graphs, or maps.
  2. Question: Think about the information you learned in the Preview. Ask yourself questions about it. Think about what do you already know about ideas you saw during your Preview. What do you think are main points that will be raised in the chapter? What do you expect to learn from reading this material?
  3. Read: Read the passage. If there are ideas seem important, make a note of them on paper. If the book belongs to you, consider making notes in the margins and highlight important parts in the book. If you just can't imagine writing in your book, make notes on paper.
  4. Reflect: Take time to reflect on what you have read. How are the passages or chapters inter-related? How does the information fit into things you have already learned? What new information did you learn? Did the passage include the information you expected it to cover? Was there information that surprised you?
  5. Recite: Think about the material. Discuss it with someone else or write down the main points you learned. Generally, writing information down by hand will improve memory of the material. If writing is a problem for you, consider brief notes or discuss the material with other students. It is important to summarize the material in writing using your own words. Explain it aloud to someone else or recite your notes aloud to yourself. Consider using a graphic organizer to increase your understanding of how concepts in the reading relate to each other.
  6. Review: Consider the main points of the material. Were your questions answered? Do you feel that the writer's points are fully understood?

Use the PQ4R strategy with new reading material to improve comprehension and retention, which can lead to better grades and improved achievement in all school subject areas.

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