Sunday, March 14, 2010

SQ3R Applied - "Toyota Slips Up" Text

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After nearly three years teaching English as a Foreign Language, it appears almost every presentation of the language is controversial in the field.

Reading is not an exception.

Last week, I used a prescient article from The Economist - "Toyota Slips Up" (December 12,2009) - as a reading text on a popular issue. Students are aware of the news about Toyota and though in British English (I am American) the article is chock full of vocabulary.

SQ3R Reading Method
I introduced my students to the SQ3R approach to reading. It is an analytic tool and essential to gain a context about any text.

First, students are encouraged to Survey the text. Given the article is only a page, that is simple in this case. At the top of the page is "Leaders" identifying the article as an opinion piece. There is a picture of a banana on wheels (the slip part) of the article's title as in slipping on a banana peel. The important sub-headline mentions "corporate turnarounds" and the two sub-headings are "Falling giants" and "A bit of vroom needed."

Given the good text structure and excellent writing by The Economist, it is easy to create Questions about the text to answer while reading. Reading is about anticipation. What information do you think the text will contain? What do you predict the article will be about? Given the above, we would expect to hear about other big companies who have lost their ways, but were able to turnaround their sinking fortunes. But whom? Were they successful in the end?

Urge students to create these questions and build interest in the article and the discover process of answering them.

Next, students Read the article bearing their questions in mind.

Then, students Recite to themselves orally what they have just read and take notes in their own words from the text.

The final step is Reviewing your notes and questions/answers to keep the information fresh in your mind.

I had wonderful results with my class teaching them a new approach to read smarter!

More information:
Hat tip: Study Guides and Strategies website offers more information on using SQ3R and a review page to help in your text analysis.
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