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Jackson, Fvelyn • eo 

SurvBytncTJ Is It rasily Applied in Today's 
Kac 8 0 

' 10p»: Paper preser>eJ it-ithe Annual Meeting of the 
'llliaois T^eadina Couincil 02th, Peoria, IL, March 
^14-15, 1980), 

MP01/p:-01 Plus Postage. 

Advance Organizer st * Content Area Beading; Higher 
Education: *Re»ding- skills.: Secondary Education: 
♦Study Skills: *Textbook Content; *Textbook 
Evaluation: Textbook Research: *Textbook Selection 
*SQ3P Stodv Formula 


The survey step in the SQ3^ study reading strategy 
consists of scaaaiag the reading material, and its organizational 
features to establish the nature/magnitude of the reading task aad to 
foroolits guidelines for accomplishing that task, when the chapters 
of six history textbooks vere examined for the presence, absience, and 
number of organizational features comprisina the survey step, 

t wide range s nd variation in. the usfe of those features were 
This variability in textbooks has impli^ationfe for textbook 
and classroom instruction, when selecting textbooks, it is 
to consider how the s^-udent will be reading the text. ?in::e 
is believed to be a viable, effective strategy in studying, 
students should develop this skill in mats rial which does not 
ov^r*halitt them, Meibers of textbook selection ccnmittees should try 
surveying chapters of a proposed textbook to make sure that students 
are not handicapped by the lack or preponderance of certain text 
features. Once a textbook is selected , teachers should provide the 
students with a general introduction to the text, its features, and 
study strategies for dealirg with th* text. (SL) 

however, < 
appi rent, 

* Reproductions supplied by EDPS are the best that can be lada * 

* ' from the original document. ^ * 

si S? U* * n ^A. NAT OSAt iNSt'Tv'tf 

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Evelyn Jackson 


"Surveying: Is it Easily Applied 
.-Wn Today's Textbooks?" 

Evelyn Jackson 

Armed with information about reading oind thinking skills, reading 
teachers are confident when" recommending strategies for study reading 
that are best typified by Francis Robinson's (1962) approach known as 

SQ3R-survey, question, read, recite ^nd review. Robinson proposed SQ3R 

for study reading after examining the formats of textbooks. and- concluding » 
that the reader's comprehension and concentration cou^d be enhanced if 
the task were approached systematically and efficiently, 

Robinson's approach has become very popular and is frequently the 
backbone of what Is recommended for textbook reading in secondary and 
post-secondary reading improvement classes (Taylor^ 1975; Blake, 1973; 
Flemming, 1978; Brown, 1975; Smith, 1972; Norman, 1976; Judson, ^3972; 
Carman and Adams, 1972; and Wood, -1978). Some author's have represented 
the approach by different titles but the rationale in the descriptions 
is the same: the reader s urveys to quickly find out what's In store for 
him/her; q uestions are formulated which =are to be answered in the reading; 
the student reads to answer the questions, the material is recited to 
recall what was read; and later, the material is reviewed for longer-term 

Tadlock (1978) in explaining the success of SQ3R relates it to an 
information processing theory of learning and states, "Each component 


of ^he SQi3R procedure for independent study Is designed to facilitate the 
processing of incoming Information (print) so the reader can deal with 
mpre of it and deal- with it more effectively." (fadlock» 1978).^^ 

The" first step of SQ3R, survey > "is the item of interest. Surveying 
should be done when a reader is faced with any material which is new to 
him/her. Books, chapters of textbooks, articles, and pamphlets, are 
surveyed so that the T::eader can quickly establish what the task w>1l be 
all about and formulate one or more purposes for reading the material. 
There are suggestions for what is involved in. surveying each of the 
above-mentioned pieces of material, let's further focus our attention ott 
surveying a textbook chapter. Since chapters of textbooks have similar 
features it is reasonable'to recommend that a stodeht.tio the following 
when making a survey: 

1. read the chapter title 

2. ^ read the introduction, if there is one 

3. read the headings and subheadings 

4. ■ read questions built into the text, if there are any 

♦ 5. read all graphic aids which are placed throughout the 
chapter; understanding the -message as^ it is graphically 
given will make the reading task easier 

6. note- new vocabulary terms which may be italicized or in 

bold face print ' ^ , „ 

7. read the summary and questions- at the -end of the chapter 
After making this kind of a survey a student stiould understand what the 
chapter encompasses. It will be easier to un|iers-tand the purposes for' 
reading and subsequently compreRend-i*hat is deemed important. 

The Pr oblem 

While the recommended plan appears reasonable, questions remain: 
Does the procedure match current textbook. formats? Are they structured 


for surveying to be an effective approach easily applied In study-reading? 
In an lo ans,wer the questions* parallel chapters of Mx popular 
American History texts were reviewed and compared. In each book the ^ 
■ ^chapter on Andrew Oa^ckson and Jacksonian De?nocracy was selected for 
, analysis. The following factors were rioted for each^ book: 1) the presence 
or absence of an introduction, 2) the number of Headings. 3) the gi^'-Ltif 
of, 4) the number of questions 1ncorporated^r.-tO the text, 
5) the number of diagrams, and charts, 6) the number. ;trf illustrations and 
photos, 7) the number, of maps, 8) the presence-or absence of a suMnary 
and, 9) the manner in whtch new vocabulary v^ords are highlighted in the 
text through the use of bold-face print or italics. In addition, 
four other chapter features were surveyed: i) the number of asides<^ 
(porsondlity profiles, anecdotes), 2) the length of each chapter, 
3) the presence or absence of a chapter review^ and, 4) the readability 
level of each b^ook (Table 1)* t * * ^ 

TABlf ) 

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the Smog formula (McLaughlin, 1969) was used to approximate the readability 
level of the books because readability is often a factor which is considered 
by textbook evaluation committees when selecting new books (Harker. 1977; 


Krause, 1976;? JsvHz and Melnts, 1979) » The conflict suri^oundlng 

redddbillt^ fonnulas is acknowledged (Aukerman, 1972) however, the 

^ « ' * 

1nforf:«ition is included here to demonstrate t8e importance of looking 
beyond a grade- 1 evel readabilvty designation. 

Di scus^sj_^on 

All the chapters had titles so no category for checking the. ^ 
existence of title's was necessary, in the analysis.. It is .understood 
that the tltT^' is Xhe first piece of in|orniat1on that a reader considers. 
Upon v^eading the title* it is reccrrmended that a reader reflect on what 
may already be known about the topic; this suggestion carries overN'nto 
the reading of all headings and subheadings. After "recalling what is • 


known, the reader Is advised to turn the title Into a question which can 
be answered during the reading. The process focuses the reader's 
attention, enhances concentration and prepares one for active reading. • 

F-our of the six texts hcid Introductions to the chapter. Of the 
four introductions the one in Book A also featured main idea pre-reading 
questions' Having questions added to an Introduction provides a helpful 
example for a teacher to highlight subsequent reading which can be 
done to answer questions. 

All of the chapters were divided Into sections with headings and 
five of the six chapters had subheadingiT One text. Book E, "Fia3~35 
' sub- subheadings. Totaling the columns provides a better perspective 
of the task. If a reader were to only consider headings and subheadings,^ 
surveying could range from reading 15 elements within 20 pages to 49 
elements within 21 pages. Regardless of their substance. In number alone 
they constitute several items to process. 

Three pf the texts Incorporated questions into the chapter. *hese 
^^an be helpful In guiding a student through the chapter. Teachers can 
point out how the reader can monitor comprehension If the questions can 
be answered after reading. During a survey of a chapter, questions can 
also be helpful in guiding a reader's attention as to the section's 


purpose. §tudents seldom set their own purposes fpr reading a textbook; 
assignments usually reflect the teacher's purpose which often comes from 
.a manual or lesson guide. Considering number alone, there may be a point 
of diminishing re*-urn. Book D not only has 45 headings and subheadings 
to survey, it also features 25 questions which would be read if a student 
followed the recommendations of a survey. 

No text was without vistjal aids. .4t is interesting to compare the 
treatment by six publishers of the same' topic in American History. For 
one publisher the chapter merited six diagrams/charts, 16 illustrations/ 
photos, and four maps within 34 pages. For another, it was enough to 
h^ive two diagrams/charts, four illustrations/photos and no maps within 
nine pages. The bottom line of tliese decisions is economic. It costs 
more to have more visual aids.. But aside from the expense, consider 
what It means to a reader surveying the chapter. The comprehension of 
the ^uals can ease the task of 'reading the text, especially if it is 
written at a high readability level {Wood, 1978; Adams,, 1970). 

Only two of the six texts, D and E, had summaries at the end of the., 
chapter. Reading a summary is often a good introduction to the whole and 
IS considered a worthwhile part of doing a survey. The two texts with 
summaries ^Iso have the most number of different elements to process. 
Instead of a student considering 81 different elements in Book D or 73 
different elements In Book E,.,Jt may be that the sjmmary would provide a 
better perspective of the chapter. 

Surprisingly little was done to highlight vocabulary in any of the 
texts. This is ftot to say that terms were not explained in context or 
f(^atured in lists in chapter reviews. They pften were. The point is 
that during a survey^ the reader would not be'able to roughly assess 
new vocabulary. Checking the vocabulary .loaci enables a reader to 
^determine the relative difficulty of the task ahead. 

^ Some publisher^^ade an pffort^to make American history more real 
for the stude'nts by putting in personality profiles or vignettes called 
asides in this analysis. If these features are present it is the 
teacher's responsibility to explain their relevance to the reading 6f 
the chaoter. 

* ♦ 

Impl ications 

The above description of the various features of chapters in selected 
American History books has implications for two facets of the educational 
scene: textbook selection and classroom instruction. Various authors* 
guidelines for selection of textbooks have many features in common (Harker, 
1977; Krause, yj976; Jevits and Meints, 1979). Consideration is usually 
given to readability level » concept load, author information, organizatiori, 
format and style, the teacher's manual, quality of workmanship and cost. 
When evaluating forniat and style, it Is^ important to look at what it means 
for the student who will be reading the text. It is the author's belief 

should be able to develop this skill in material which does not ove^helra 
them in the process. iMembers of selection committees should try surveying 
a chapter of a book -under consideration and ask themselves these questions: 

1) How long does tt take to effectively survey the qhapter? 2) t^ow many 
elements (headings/ questlons^^phlcs) are Included? 3) Is U-easy to 
•grasp th^ Intent and extent of the .^hapter material? 4) Are there questions 
built Into thfe text whi ch'^woul d effectively guide the reader? 5) Are 
new vocajbulary terms^, highlighted? 6)^ Can our students be' expected to* 
efficiently survey this material? 

Instructional implications are most obvious for implementation at . ♦ 
the beginning of a school year. Every teacher with a textbook to introduce 
should make a survey .of the book part of the introduction. At the same 
time, how to read the textbpok should be stressed. A teacher has the 


information and experience necessary to e^abllsh tht objectives of 
reading nhe ''text. To aid readers in reaching the objectives, they should 
not only be given a study reading approach such as SQ3R, but should be 
walked through it, if necessary. A teacher's guidance Is vital.' As In 
the development of any skill, students might find it cumbersome and' ttffte 
consuming and be reluctant to pursue it. Structure and teacher assistance 
need to be provided so that students xan experience success. Surveying Is 
a skill which can be used throughout a reader's lifetime, it Is worth the 
investment. x . . 



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