What type of reader are you?

Explorer standing on a large pile of books


What type of reader are you?  A forthcoming piece of research* suggests that we can divide reading into three types. Firstly there is "infograzing", that is when we read whatever is in front of us such as an advert on the side of a bus, the back of a cereal packet, or the headlines on a newspaper. With reading like this we read whatever is near - we are reacting to our environment, and not proactively choosing what we read. 

Secondly, there is "book-mining" which, unlike infograzing, is proactive. Book-mining is when we actively read to get something that we need. Like a miner, mining for gold! If we are looking for information, or some sort of self-help we might turn to a book to seek the information we want. As language learners we might read a book in a foreign language to help us learn some vocabulary, or to consolidate our grammar. Students who feel that they have to learn a language often fall into this category.

The third category are the story-hunters. This is when the emotional attachment of reading for pleasure has taken over. These readers love reading, and often love a particular type of story or genre, perhaps Fantasy, Romance or History. They often have a hunger for reading and experience an emotional attachment to the book and the story. As they read they 'experience' the story, feeling strong emotions and identifying with certain characters.  These readers often have a hunger for more - either they can't wait to read more of the story, or they want to read more books in the series or in the same genre.

Of course, in different situations we might use each of these three types of reading and so be infograzers, book-miners or story-hunters depending on the context of why we are reading. However, it is very useful to know if someone has a particular preference for how their read.  Knowing this helps teachers to help their learners more effectively.  They know how to approach people according to what they prefer.  This is is likely to lead to better teaching, and so more learning and engagement.

In English we sometimes describe a person who reads a lot as an "avid" reader which means that they are very eager and enthusiastic.  Sometimes it is almost like these readers are "taken over" by the desire to read, that they feel compelled to continue reading.  Reading is not a task or a chore for an avid reader.  It is a source of personal enjoyment and fulfillment.  Reading becomes fun and life affirming!  

One way in which the process of becoming an avid reader can be strengthened is to read with other people.  As children we have often done this with our parents or family.  As adults, a common way to do this is to join a reading group and all read the same book or story and discuss it.  

People who are avid readers will somehow find the time to read.  They prioritise reading over other activities.  For those who are "story-hunters" this is not necessarily a conscious decision - they make the time because they are hungry for more.  These readers also tend to see things vividly in their "minds-eye" - they imagine what is happening, almost as if it is real.  We call this "hyper-phantasia". 

Why do you usually read? Do you read enough of what you like? Or do you find you are reading to get information and achieve a task? Let us know at Book Club School!  We love stories, and hunt for good ones…. so I think you know which type of readers we are!


* This study is being published by Dr Greg Hadley, Professor of Cultural Studies and Applied Linguistics at Niigata University  http://www2.human.niigata-u.ac.jp/~ghadley/main/