Text Annotation and SQ4R

This strategy will help students to:

  • It develops reading skills such as predicting, activate prior knowledge and track meaning.
  • Supports them in accessing the information in science texts and find the main idea
  • Help them to interpret the information easier
  • Gives them confidence to tackle unfamiliar texts
  • Gives them a purpose for reading


  • Prepare students for reading the text by reminding them of how scientific texts are structured e.g. they often follow a chronological order and they often contain certain features (e.g. use headings and subheadings to organise and categorise information, use diagrams and images to reinforce what is explained in the text.)
  • SCAN- Ask students to circle or highlight noticeable text features and discuss their purpose. e.g. headings and subheadings organise and categorise information, images and diagrams are used to reinforce what is explained in the text , tables and graphs are used to present data, captions explain the graphic, special printed words are often glossary words, scientific names or key concepts that we need to understand and bullet points often provide us with examples.

Possible questions to prompt thinking include:

  • Why are we going to read this particular text?
  • How do we know what the topic will be?
  • What are some of the ideas that might be covered in this topic? How do we know?
  • What do you already know about this topic?
  • Why do you think they included this image/diagram/table/graph? What is it showing?
  • Can you see any special printed words? Why might they be italicised/bolded/underlined? Where might you find the meaning of these words?
  • Using the information that they highlighted, ask students to make a prediction about information they might find out in the text. Note: You will need to model this for students and do a ‘think aloud’ with them to see how they can make predictions based on these text features. Remember to prompt students to explain their thinking when they make a prediction by asking ‘what makes you say that?’
  • QUESTION- As a class (and eventually individually once students have had practice) create questions based on the textual features. They can write these questions next to the features on the page or in their book if there is no room.

  • READ-While reading the text, students attempt to answer the questions. They can write this inside the margins of the text if there is room or in their workbook.

  • RECITE- In partners or in groups, students discuss their answers. Did they find out the answers to all of their questions? Did the text provide new questions? Did they find out anything else that was unexpected? What were the main ideas and concepts explored in the text? What do they now know?
  • REVIEW- As a class, discuss the answers and clarify any misconceptions.

  • REFLECT- Students write down their answers to the questions in their workbook and write a summary of what they have learnt, what this new information means to them and how it contributes to their understanding of the topic.


Rather than students asking questions before reading and then writing down the answers, they can make a prediction about what each section of the text will cover. While reading, students write down the main idea of each section of the text in their own words. At the end of the text they can then write a summary of the key ideas and concepts covered by the text.

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