Unlocking Your Learning Method Could Make You A Better Reader

Mel Van De Graaff
Jan 5, 2021

Bookworms are often frustrated when their friends don’t enjoy consuming books in the same way they do. In fact,  there are some in the reading community who look at those who don’t like to read with disdain while others believe that audiobooks aren’t actually books.  

Instead of getting frustrated when your friends don’t enjoy literature in the same ways that you might, know that there might be a reason behind it: not everyone learns in the same way. And some learning methods don’t mix well with print books. 

Learning method breakdown

Identifying different learning methods can help us better understand why some people like audiobooks over print or print instead of an ebook. There are countless ways of quantifying learning methods, though the one most used is the Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic, or VARK, method. 

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to learn by reading. These classifications are simply ways to understand how some people might learn and how to best adapt to each style.

Visual

Visual learners best synthesize information through charts and other comprehensive methods. When these students can visualize relationships and ideas through diagrams or illustrations, it’s easier for them to remember what they’ve learned. 

Learning methods that work well for visual learners include charts, graphs, and diagrams, as opposed to still photos or movies.

Auditory

Auditory learners do best when they hear information. For some, note-taking may be a distraction to taking in the information. These students often have an easier time recalling a conversation than they do words on a page. They may also benefit from repetition or turning data into a song to recall it. 

Methods that work well for auditory learners include lectures, discussion, and talking through things.

Reading/Writing

Reading/Writing learners do well when taking notes, conducting research, and reading about what they’re learning. These are the avid readers who can turn abstract ideas into words, and are most often called bookworms. 

Methods that work well for reading/writing learners include lists, diaries, books, reports, and anything text based. 

Kinesthetic 

Kinesthetic learners need to be physical while learning. Also called tactile learners, this learning method engages all of the senses. These types of learners tend to struggle the most with typical classroom settings. 

Methods that work best for these learners include doing something, experiencing information, and active demonstrations. 

Most people don’t have a singular type of learning method. In fact, only 34 percent have one learning method, with kinesthetic or experiential being the most common among people who prefer one learning method. Most people rely on two or more learning methods to take in data. In fact, trying to consume information in only one way can make it so that data that might have been best conveyed in a particular format gets lost or misunderstood.

The brain is integrated, not compartmentalized. It uses millions of neurons to translate and transfer data no matter how it’s learned. A great example is learning in the classroom with textbooks. Many students don’t like reading textbooks, but it may not have anything to do with their learning style.

 Instead, their issue might be in how the material is presented, both in the format and context of the book, and how they’re expected to interact with it in and out of class. How the teacher approaches the material, the goals students are expected to meet, and the approach of the author all influence how well students learn as well. Learning styles are just one aspect of the matter.

Your preferred learning method affects how you enjoy books. Here’s how to find your own.


What do these methods mean for books?

Understanding these learning methods can help us better comprehend why people learn differently. But why do learning methods matter when it comes to books?

Digital and print books are great for reading/writing style students. However, they tend to leave other styles behind. Audiobooks can bridge the gap and connect students who learn through auditory methods. Even visual based learners can consume books via graphic novels or comics. Kinesthetic learners, on the other hand, are out of luck when it comes to a book format tailored to their learning style. They are usually at an advantage when it comes to other forms of art, though.

Think about it: there are plenty of  stories, explanations, and word based media that make for great books. But not all media is best presented through text, there are some things that words just can’t convey. Would you rather see a dance performance with your own eyes, or read a description of the performance? Reading about it and watching it definitely aren’t the same thing. 

The most important  thing to remember about learning methods is that not everyone interacts with information in the same manner. This is true when it comes to retaining and recalling data, as well as what types of books people like to read. Some people might hate reading Science Fiction & Fantasy, while others refuse to read anything else. 

 Depending on the subject matter, some people just might have an easier time remembering the information if it’s in an audiobook format than in print. For them, audiobooks are easier to pay attention to when there are other distractions and chances are that auditory based learners will likely remember the conversation format that an audiobook mimics better than reading a passage in a book. 

What these different learning styles teach us is that there’s no right or wrong way to consume books. Each format has their own use and place where it’s beneficial. Ebooks are helpful for those who don’t have space for more books, or who have less income, and audiobooks are great for people who are busy or who struggle with paying attention to text.  

Making books accessible through multiple formats (ebook, audiobook, and print) is the best way to encourage people to partake in stories and other media and help them to fall in love with the magic of reading in any form. By making stories more accessible, authors will get more readers, and it will be possible to share information with more people than ever before. 

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