Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
You may have been asked; what is your reading style? and been thrown off by the question.
And you wouldn’t be alone. Not many people realize that there are many types of reading techniques and styles of readers out there.
The way in which we read not only determines how much we understand but also determines how much we connect with a book.
If you’re wondering what your reading style is, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, I’ve listed the 10 reading styles and what their characteristics are, so you can see what type of reader you are – and also the type of reader you want to be.
The 10 Types of Reading
There are many different ways to digest a book. Here are 10 different ways that we might read books.
1. The Skim Reader
If you’re someone who skims over the text and doesn’t take in every word, you are considered a skim reader.
Skimming is a reading style where readers read through the text quickly in order to get a general idea, rather than find specific information.
This works well for readers who are short on time and want to get the gist of the content.
However, skimming doesn’t allow you to connect with the story on a more intimate level. You may miss out on details that make the story unique. You may also skim passed fun literary devices such as metaphors, idioms, and puns.
While skimming may be considered a bad reading habit, it is a useful tool to practice for studying when you are short on time – for instance, if you have a college essay due in a few days.
2. The Scan Reader
Scanning is similar to skimming, in that the reader is looking for specific information.
However, scanning is more focused than skimming, as the reader is searching for specific information, rather than the gist meaning.
As such, the reader may spot important parts of the story or text, such as an answer to a question or a specific fact.
While skimming is a quick way to read, scanning is a little slower-paced and requires more mental awareness of what you are doing.
3. The Analytical Reader
The analytical reading style involves a more focused and deliberate approach to reading.
Readers who use this style take their time to read and understand every sentence and word, analyzing the meaning of the text and its implications.
4. The Recreational Reader
This is the reading style that most readers can identify with. Recreational readers are reading in search of entertainment and relaxation, and this is a light reading style that provides the ideal escape from reality.
Recreational readers tend to read more fictional literature in any genre, for the purpose of entertainment.
Usually, they pick books that they consider easy to digest and require little concentration but are a pleasing respite from stress and daily responsibilities.
5. The Critical Reader
The critical reader is the reader who is looking for meaning in a book. They are evaluating the text and looking for a critical analysis of it.
They will look for hidden meanings in the text, contemplate the reasonings behind the author’s word choice and compare plot points to real-life scenarios.
Being a critical reader doesn’t have to be a studious reading style. It’s for anyone who takes a more academic approach to reading and enjoys thinking more deeply about the topic.
Critical readers may read both fiction and non-fictional reading materials.
However, this reading style is more focused than the typical light recreational reading style, as the reader is seeking to gain knowledge and improve their understanding of a topic.
6. Reflective Reader
A reflective reader is similar to a critical reader in that they read in order to gain insight into themselves, their experiences, and the world around them.
However, they are not reading to analyze the text in terms of its literary devices, the themes used, and the reasoning behind the author’s choices.
A reflective reader is on a personal journey when reading. Looking for ways to connect the story to their own lives and taking time to think about and process the text.
A reflective reader may choose to read either fiction or non-fiction.
7. Speed Reader
A speed reader is someone who has practiced the art of reading quickly but still being able to absorb and digest the contents of the book with accuracy.
It involves using special methods such as using peripheral vision, combining words into phrases or chunks, and recognizing patterns in words and sentences.
Speed readers may also reduce subvocalization (the habit of verbalizing words silently when reading), or even use technology such as a book scanner to help them get through a book quicker.
Speed reading can help increase efficiency for tasks such as studying for exams or collecting information for a review.
It can build your fluency in reading, increase knowledge retention, and even improve your time management skills.
8. Active Reader
An active reader is similar to a reflective reader in that they are often engaged and interactive when reading.
As they read, they may be asking questions, making connections, and forming opinions.
If you’re an active reader, you may have a reading journal or be part of a book club where you can share your ideas.
9. Passive Reader
A passive reader is the opposite of an active reader. Passive readers are disengaged with the contents, easily distracted, not taking it all in, and letting the text wash over them.
A passive reader is someone who is reading for the sake of reading, or because they have to read a book they are not interested in for study purposes.
Being a passive reader doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy reading, it might just mean the book you are reading is not right for you.
10. Professional Reader
A professional reader is someone who reads for work or study and is reading material based on expanding their own knowledge on something.
So, What Is Your Reading Style?
So, there you go, those are the ten reading styles. Have you a better understanding of what type of reader you are?
It may be that you fall into a few or more of these reading styles, or perhaps some days you are an active reader and the next day you’re not.
Whichever style of reader you are, being able to understand the type of reader you are is a good way to figure out what books to read next.
Whether you’re a skimmer, scanner, analytical reader, or critical reader, the important thing is to enjoy the book and its contents in the way that suits you best.