Thoughts on Self-directed Learning #4

Ken looks right.jpg

When I was a teacher of English back in the olden days when we first came off the ark, there was a reading for comprehension strategy called SQ3R. In recent years its benefitted from inflation and is known as PSQ5R

Much of how we learn in self directed learning will be dependent on our reading skills. Here is one strategy for reading to comprehend that may be useful to you.

PSQ5R stands for:

Purpose. Why am I reading the article? What is my purpose? Is it to follow the logic? Is it to match information to source citation, is it to understand the flow of the argument? etc.
Survey or Skim. Skim over the main features of the article: titles, headings, abstract, summary, source citations to get an overviw of the article. This helps determine the author’s focus, themes etc. This may take as short as five minutes but gets longer as we get into the question stage.
Question.1 Create questions you want to answer from the reading.Write them down. 2. Turn headings into questions and write them down. 3. Add to this list any questions that your reading sparks no matter how trivial or small or picky.4. Create questions about the authors’ assumptions and add to the list. 5. Jot down terms you are unfamiliar with and look them up.
Re-Read Selectively. Read to answer each of that list of questions. Read from one main heading to the next and stop and think about what was written. Study those footnotescarefully.

Recite. Without referring to the article, recite the answers to your questions in your own words. Thats why you need to write the questions. You now have an idea about what you need to re-read.

Reduce and Record Create an outline using your questions and answers. Crerate charts diagrams etc to visually lay out the more difficult to understand text.

Reflect. Comprehension and retention improve with reflection so manipulate the ideas, link top situations you are familiar with, or experience.

Review. Review the whole set of notes, diagrams, doodles, interpretations, definitions or whatever you’ve created from the reading experience. Using that outline as a basis, recite what you’ve learned. Do it again, one day, one week and one month after, and you’ll have anchored the ideas from your reading.
It takes courage for a grown up to study seriously, but wow, what a payoff! When the problem presesents itself, you’ll have a experience to match that problem. A set of knowledge keys, a skill set, ready to employ.

What do you think?


One response to “Thoughts on Self-directed Learning #4

  1. This sounds familiar — rather similar to the methodology we’re taught to use in reading the discussion articles in the Analysis & Skills Mentoring courses from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

    What can I say: It works!

  2. Karen,
    A little different– I taught advanced reading skills to a group of fierce giants from Fiji, a delightful, humble, gentle bunch of college kids. In those days it was SQ3R.

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