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Individual reading styles: a narrative approach to understanding reading behaviour

Abstract

This article reports on the findings from a study that intended to consider the validity of a model of reading comprehension. In the process of coding the resulting verbal protocols, the ‘feel’ or experience of the actual readers was lost, as was the individuality of the participants. Narratives were then developed to describe the experience of the reading and to recapture that individual nature of each reader’s approach to making sense of the texts they read. After those narratives were developed, some patterns emerged that are discussed in this article as reading styles. Some of these styles resulted in the reader developing a good understanding of what they were reading and others did not. The successful styles were classified in two ways, by the main strategy used and by the deliberateness of the readers’ construction of understanding. There are two pairs of successful reading styles discussed here, making four successful styles in total. Readers using a visualisation strategy are described as either “movie makers” for those who consciously constructed their mental movies, and as “Movie watchers” for those who experienced the process as being more receptive. The other strategy used in successful reading was questioning, either as an active “Hunter-seeker” approach or in the less-active “Wondering” style. Three styles that were not associated with successful reading are also described. Some implications for future research, and for teaching and learning are also discussed.

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Correspondence to John Milne.

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Milne, J. Individual reading styles: a narrative approach to understanding reading behaviour. SN Soc Sci 1, 48 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-020-00054-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-020-00054-w

Keywords

  • Reading comprehension
  • Narrative
  • Reading style
  • Reading strategy
  • Metacognition