What is PQ4R Strategy and How can I Use it in my Classroom?

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PQ4R StrategyPQ4R is a study technique developed by Thomas E.L and Robinson H.A (1972). The acronym stands for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite and Review and this strategy is used mainly to help students with difficulty in reading. Comprehension, retaining and recalling information is a challenge for many students and the PQ4R strategy aims at making reading easier.

The study technique can help students with improved understanding and recall of facts. Thus let’s see how we can use this strategy within our classrooms.

Preview:

Previewing is all about introducing the class to the topic. When used as a reading strategy students are encouraged to skim through the titles, headings, visual representations, first and last paragraph of the content to give them an idea of the content and the overall concept and purpose of the material.

Similarly, before you start teaching, take a minute or two to introduce the topic. “What is the topic about? What are we going to cover in this class?” are some questions that can help you prepare a basic outline of the lecture. Present this in a creative manner to make the class more interesting for the students, to divert their attention to the crucial points of the topic and also to allow them to mentally prepare for the class.

For example the preview for a class on photosynthesis can be about presenting a picture/ diagrammatic representation about the process, writing down the title “factors of photosynthesis” , or putting forth a catchy question like “how do plants feed?”

Question:

Encourage the class to formulate their questions or queries from what has been presented in the preview. This sort of questioning by the students assists the teachers to know the level of understanding the student has on the topic and enables them to make modifications or changes to the class accordingly.

Considering the example mentioned above, in this phase students can formulate their questions like “what is the process of photosynthesis?”, “how does photosynthesis occur?” or “what is required for photosynthesis to occur?”

The preview and questioning phase may occur simultaneously and serves as an icebreaker and makes the class interactive.

Read:

Remind students to read through the material, bearing in mind the questions which they had previously formulated.  This way of active reading following a discussion or lecture assists the process of learning as the student are now able to form an association or connection between the material being read and the material taught and questions previously put forth by the class. The practice assists students to engage in inquiry based and active learning instead of passively listening to a lecture.

Reflect: 

In this step encourage the students to think back on the material learnt. Are their  questions answered? Do they have new queries? Prepare small slips that can be filled out by the students. You can have questions that check how much the student has learned and what they have not understood. Unlike exit slips, (link to post on exit slips) this need not be reviewed by the teachers but serves as a method to help students realize their own potential of learning.

Recite:

Have a discussion, or let the students now explain the process of photosynthesis. Divide the class into groups so that each group makes a quick oral presentation about the topic. You can give them the points they have to present on, so that the students can cover the entire lecture in the presentation. This verbal presentation soon after the reading and reflecting further strengthens the learning.

Review:

At the end of the class, the students have to review the material they learnt with what was presented at the beginning of the class. Did they cover the topics presented in the outline, are all their queries answered? This review helps them to recall the various facts they learnt thereby reinforcing their learning.

The PQ4R strategy is a great technique by which active student learning can be promoted within the classroom.

Discuss here:   What is your experience with the PQ4R strategy, or other similar reading strategies?

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