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Read-Study Method for Textbooks

A reader of my Pennington Publishing Blog asked me to explain how my PQ RAR reading-study strategy (Preview-Question-Read-Answer-Review) for textbooks and expository writing works with my SCRIP Comprehension Strategy Questions.  An excellent question.


I used and taught the classic SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review) method of textbook reading for years and asked one of the reading professor in my MA program about the technique. He stated that considerable research had demonstrated the efficacy of the S and Q steps (Survey and Question); however, no empirical research seemed to warrant using the last two “R’s” (Recite and Review).  By the way, the related PQ3R strategy simply substituted Preview for the anachronistic Survey.

I went home and over the next few days hammered out my PQ RAR reading-study strategy (Preview-Question-Read-Answer-Review). I added on the last R, Review, to the professor’s suggestion of A, Answer, because not all of the reader’s self-generated questions will be answered by the text. Some were answered by the author, but were not noted by the reader during the initial reading; some were not addressed by the text; some require additional research.

As an elementary reading specialist, I shared the PQ RAR reading-study strategy with quite a few teachers at seven different sites and through professional development. Teachers and their students much preferred the PQ RAR reading-study strategy compared to the traditional SQ3R or PQ3R strategies. However, I knew that a critical element was missing.

Weeks later I shared my PQ RAR reading-study strategy with the same professor and my colleagues in the class. One of my fellow teachers commented on the first R (Read) saying, “Simply telling a student to read, looking for the answers to subtitle questions, is clearly inadequate. To build comprehension, we have to teach readers to cue themselves as they read to “talk to the text.” Brilliant!

The professor responded, “It’s both/and.” He first affirmed the importance of the Q (Question) step of developing and writing text-dependent questions from the subtitles and the end of chapter publisher questions. Next, affirmed the importance of the internal reader dialogue and self-monitoring comprehension during the R (Read) step. What he said next surprised all of us in the class.

SCRIP Comprehension Strategies

SCRIP Comprehension Strategy Questions

The professor shared the research regarding self-questioning strategies. He summarized, ” The research shows that reader-generated questions of the text produce greater comprehension than teacher or publisher-generated comprehension questions.” Clearly, I needed to add something to the R (Read) step in my PQ RAR reading-study strategy.

So, back to the drawing board.

I designed the SCRIP (Summarize, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, and Predict) comprehension strategies to cue the reader to explore and question a text independently, instead of being solely dependent upon author subtitles, publisher, or teacher questions and/or study helps. Now the first R (Read) made sense in my PQ RAR reading-study strategy .

Also, although the PQ RAR reading-study strategy is designed for expository text, I carefully designed the SCRIP question prompts to work with both expository and narrative text.

Read-Study Method for Textbooks

Read-Study Method

Teachers commented on how the SCRIP method increased reader engagement with the text. Kids said that asking questions of the text “made the authors seem like they were talking to us.”

I loved walking around with principals during class visitations and hearing the words Summarize, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, and Predict in teacher questions and, especially, in student questions and answers. The language of instruction was really catching on!

Teachers loved how the method worked for both expository and narrative texts. Being teachers, they starting creating. Soon I saw SCRIP questions as part of marginal annotations (margin notes), in literature circles and in online book clubs. Next, I saw SCRIP questions added to Cornell Notes templates. Fantastic… it works with lectures, too!

Years later I wrote and published the digitally-based Reading Fluency and Comprehension Toolkit. This affordable program provides 43 expository animal fluency articles and 43 corresponding animal comprehension worksheets (fillable PDFs for distance learning)–each with five SCRIP strategy questions (answers provided)–along with CORRESPONDING YOUTUBE VIDEOS WITH ALL 43 FLUENCIES RECORDED AT 3 DIFFERENT READING SPEEDS–129 IN ALL. PERFECT FOR MODELED READINGS.

Try the SCRIP Comprehension Strategy Questions with your students. Get five one-page fairy tales, each introducing the SCRIP strategies, and a nice SCRIP bookmark to print for your students.

Get the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies FREE Resource:

The Teaching Reading Strategies (Reading Intervention Program) is designed for non-readers or below grade level readers ages eight-adult. Ideal as both Tier II or III pull-out or push-in reading intervention for older struggling readers, special education students with auditory processing disorders, and ESL, ESOL, or ELL students. This full-year (or half-year intensive) program provides explicit and systematic whole-class instruction and assessment-based small group workshops to differentiate instruction. Both new and veteran reading teachers will appreciate the four training videos, minimal prep and correction, and user-friendly resources in this program, written by a teacher for teachers and their students.

The program provides 13 diagnostic reading and spelling assessments (many with audio files). Teachers use assessment-based instruction to target the discrete concepts and skills each student needs to master according to the assessment data. Whole class and small group instruction includes the following: phonemic awareness activities, synthetic phonics blending and syllabication practice, phonics workshops with formative assessments, expository comprehension worksheets, 102 spelling pattern assessments, reading strategies worksheets, 123 multi-level fluency passage videos recorded at three different reading speeds, writing skills worksheets, 644 reading, spelling, and vocabulary game cards (includes print-ready and digital display versions) to play entertaining learning games.

In addition to these resources, the program features the popular Sam and Friends Guided Reading Phonics Books. These 54 decodable books (includes print-ready and digital display versions) have been designed for older readers with teenage cartoon characters and plots. Each 8-page book introduces two sight words and reinforces the sound-spellings practiced in that day’s sound-by-sound spelling blending. Plus, each book has two great guided reading activities: a 30-second word fluency to review previously learned sight words and sound-spelling patterns and 5 higher-level comprehension questions. Additionally, each book includes an easy-to-use running record if you choose to assess. Your students will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug. These take-home books are great for independent homework practice.

Teaching Reading Strategies and Sam and Friends Guided Reading Phonics Books BUNDLE

Teaching Reading Strategies and Sam and Friends Guided Reading Phonics Books

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