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Text Preview:  Chapter Tour or Chapter Survey

Teach students to preview the text before they read, which helps them consider what they already know about the topic.

  1. Model how to preview a text by looking at text aids:
  2. Guide students thru the organization of the chapter focusing their attention on text aids (title, boldfaced words, etc)
  3. Ask the students to make predictions about the text as you guide them thru the chapter (start with title and intro)
  4. Have students jot down major ideas they think will be covered and why along with what ideas they already know about the topic
  5. Share ideas with class


After the students have mastered Chapter Tours, students should be able to do self guided tours of the chapters before they actually begin reading which targets the following:
  1. Topic – What is the selection about?
  2. Main Idea – What is the point of the material? Author’s purpose?
  3. Major Themes – What are the key arguments or conclusions?
  4. Structure – How is the material put together/sectioned/subdivided?
  5. Salient Details – Text in bold? Italicized? Facts that need special attention?
  6. Style – What do I notice about writing style? Complex sentences? Dense vocabulary?
  7. Tone/attitude/mood – Does the author have attitude toward this material? Any emotion? What tone can I sense?

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Simple previewing strategy to use with nonfiction text where students do the following:
  1. Title and Questioning: What do I already know about the text? What does it have to do with what I learned previously? What is the point of view?
  2. Headings: Turn each heading into a question so they are focused as they read.
  3. Introductions: Read the intro to get background and outline for the text.
  4. Every FIRST sentence in a paragraph: Read every first sentence to preview (get the main ideas)
  5. Visuals and Vocabulary: Look at the bold face words and their definitions
  6. End of the Chapter Questions/Key Questions: Look at the questions to understand what the author wants you to know after you have read.
  7. Summary: Look at the summary at the end of the section. It provides the main ideas and details that will be read in the text.


SQ3R is a study strategy  for students to use to as they read and take notes in their textbook.

Here are the five steps to this study strategy:

1. Survey

  • Have the students survey the chapter titles, introductory paragraphs, bold face, italicized headings, and summary paragraphs, graphics, etc to get an overview of the material.
  • Surveying gives enough information to generate individual purposes for reading the text.

2. Question

  • Have the students look for the purpose/key questions that are often provided at the beginning of the chapter. Those questions become the questions the students answer as they read each section.
  • If there are no questions, show the students how to turn section headings into good questions.
  • The main objective is to have questions for which answers are expected to be found in the passage.

3. Read and Take Notes

  • The student should read to answer the purpose/key questions formulated in Step 2.
  • As they read, have them take notes that will help to answer the questions.
  • If they come across bold face words they should also add those and their defintions to the sections they are taking notes on.


  • Student should try to answer questions without referring to the text or notes. This step helps in transferring information from short-term to long-term memory.
  • This is the skill most students struggle with because they do not want to go back and look at their notes again.
  • Teach this in class - Turn to a Partner and Quiz each other?  Have a student play teacher and quiz the class on the notes...

5. Review (EVERY DAY there after) -

Show students the Forgetting Curve to help them understand the importance of reviewing their notes.

  • Students review the material by rereading parts of the text or notes.
  • Have students highlight their notes, create flashcards from their notes, fold paper in half, etc.
  • Think about all the ways that you studied and share these strategies with your students as ways for them to review.
  • Daily reviewing helps retain information better.

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