Are You a Visual, Verbal, or an Emotional Reader?


Reading styles can be divided into three categories depending on how people process information: VISUALLY through mental pictures, VERBALLY through the intellect and words, or EMOTIONALLY through feelings. Although people use a combination of these styles, one style tends to be dominant. To better understand and identify your reading style, check the statements below that apply to you most of the time.



1. ___ I like a clear picture of a problem before I solve it.

2. ___ My mental pictures are rich in details, texture, motion, and sound.

3. ___ I’m interested in art, design, and architecture.

4. ___ I like pictures, graphs, and illustrations.

5. ___ I like artwork or pictures on my walls.

6. ___ My daydreams interfere with my work.

7. ___ I like to picture people working well together.

8. ___ When I rehearse for something I picture myself doing it.

9. ___ Once I see something in writing I remember it easily.

10. ___ I’m a good organizer if I have a big picture of what I need to do.

11. ___ I’m influenced by pictures and demonstrations.

12. ___ I like to doodle when I’m on the phone or in a meeting.

13. ___ My solutions to problems come as sudden insights.

14. ___ Speakers who gesture excessively distract me from what they’re saying.

15. ___ People moving around while I’m reading distract me.

16. ___ I like to do business in person rather than by phone or email.

17. ___ I’d rather look at a map than ask directions.



1. ____ I think in words rather than pictures.

2. ____ It’s challenging for me to form clear mental images and pictures in my mind.

3. ____ I seldom dream in color.

4. ____ I like words, concepts, and abstract subjects.

5. ____ I like philosophy and literature.

6. ____ I have trouble remembering faces.

7. ____ I take notes.

8. ____ I hear conversations in my head.

9. ____ I remember conversations for a long time.

10. ____ I prefer plain walls with no decorations, artwork, or decorations.

11. ____ I can concentrate on what I’m reading even if there’s a lot of activity going on in the room.

12. ____ I like it when people express themselves clearly.

13. ____ I remember written details more than I remember pictures.

14. ____ I’m good at explaining things to others.

15. ____ I appreciate it when people use good grammar

16. ____ I like it when people get to the point.

17. ____ I have trouble communicating with emotional people.



1. ____ I’m sensitive to the feelings of others.

2. ____ I’m patient.

3. ____ I get emotional easily.

4. ____ I’m extroverted and friendly.

5. ____ I like to work with my hands.

6. ____ I enjoy details.

7. ____ I’m a devoted follower.

8. ____ I avoid being first or taking the lead.

9. ____ I want to know what my responsibilities are before I get enthused about something.

10. ____ I can translate thoughts into feelings.

11. ____ It’s difficult to be criticized.

12. ____ I don’t like pressure.

13. ____ I have trouble disciplining others.

14. ____ When I recall an event I can easily remember how I felt at the time.

15. ____ I enjoy participating in physical activities.

16. ____ I gesture when I speak.

17. ____ I have empathy with others.


Now count the number of checks you have in each section above:


VISUAL _________ VERBAL _________ EMOTIONAL _________



The Three Styles of Readers

If you’re primarily a VERBAL READER you interpret what you read through your intellect. You’re comfortable with ideas, new concepts, and abstract subjects. Because you love words you might be concerned that you’ll miss something important if you don’t pronounce every word to yourself when you read. Your challenge is to get a move on; don’t spend too much time on every word because every word isn’t equally important. You’ll need to look for the key ideas and learn to trust reading by sight instead of relying on saying the words. Once you know how to speed read, you’ll have options as to how fast to read. You can choose to read some material slowly and some more quickly.

If you’re primarily a VISUAL READER you interpret what you read through mental pictures. You risk letting descriptive material send you off into a daydream, which is okay occasionally—just be willing to sacrifice some speed and comprehension if you go off on tangents. Your challenge is to avoid becoming too involved in every image that the reading material invokes. Once you learn to speed read, you can make enormous increases in your reading rates.

If you’re primarily an EMOTIONAL READER you interpret what you read through your feelings and emotions. You risk becoming so emotionally involved in what you’re reading that you could get mired in details. Your challenge is to avoid getting bogged down in trivial details in your reading material and to keep the big picture in mind.


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Leave A Reply (1 comment So Far)

  1. Dr. Z
    2 years ago

    For me the keeper was “don’t spend too much time on every word because every word isn’t equally important. You’ll need to look for the key ideas and learn to trust reading by sight instead of relying on saying the words.”
    Thank you for sharing this.