What is a reading and writing learning style?

Published: November 10th, 2022

Plus: Strengths, weaknesses, and ways to help students excel

Students who prefer the reading and writing learning style are more than just “bookworms” – they absorb all kinds of written information, and they have highly developed linguistic skills that often translate to future careers in writing, publishing, and editing.

They tend to be good speakers and leaders, and although this style is often confused with the visual learning style, it’s a unique method of learning that teachers should accommodate in their classrooms.

Below we take a closer look at the reading and writing learning style. We’ll discuss the best ways to effectively teach these students, and we’ll reveal common pitfalls that teachers should avoid.

Identifying reading and writing learners

It’s easy to spot students who learn best through reading and writing. These students seek out written information, often reading books or magazines and preferring to write things down in words rather than in pictures or graphs.

These students tend to perform very well on standardized reading comprehension tests, and they may not pay as much attention when you’re lecturing or delivering a spoken lesson. However, they might ask you to repeat something so they can write it down.

If you look at a reading and writing learner’s notes, you’ll likely notice lots of underlines, color-coding, and notes in the margins.

Once you identify these wordsmiths, it’ll be easier to come up with ways to get information to them so they can absorb and apply as much information as possible. For instance, these learners often prefer written assignments, like essays or songs, over experiments or presenting in front of the class.

Strengths and weaknesses of reading and writing learners

Similar to other learning styles, the reading and writing modality brings with it a handful of fantastic strengths. It’s helpful for independent learners and often matches how teachers naturally present lessons. 

However, like any other style, reading and writing learners do struggle with certain concepts.


Every learning style has unique strengths. By enhancing those strengths, students will be more engaged and more likely to enjoy their work. As any teacher knows, enjoying their work helps children absorb necessary information easily and for a longer period of time.

Independent learning and self-sufficiency

One of the biggest strengths of this learning style is that it encourages independent learning and aids in self-sufficiency. When these word-lovers discover how much more they can learn when they research and read, there’s no limit to how much they can achieve.

Independent learning helps these students learn at their own pace. For instance, being allowed to read ahead helps them gain confidence in their abilities and gives them the opportunity to dive deeper into topics they find interesting.

Few supplies are needed

Since they learn best by reading and writing, these students don’t need extra manipulatives or auditory devices. Often, the only supplies these students need to help them learn is some paper, pens, and a few books. 

To keep them interested and engaged, it’s a good idea to provide a variety of different reading and writing materials. 

For example, let these students use screen sharing to the ActivPanel so they can take notes for the class during a class discussion. If students enjoy being in front of the class, invite them to write notes directly on the ActivPanel – it’s easy and fun with intuitive Vellum technology.


There are also some things that reading/writing learners might struggle with in the classroom as well. Understanding these behaviors as coming from their learning styles and not from negative behavior will help you adjust your teaching methods to keep them engaged. 

Reading and writing learners often “zone out” while the teacher is talking

Learning by just listening to the teacher is one of the biggest struggles for reading and writing learners. If they don’t know how to take notes or they don’t have a way to do so, you might see them zoning out while you’re teaching. 

Sometimes, reading and writing learners struggle to even remember what they just heard unless they have the ability to write it down.

Students may not respond well to class discussions

It’s also difficult for reading and writing learners to participate in class discussions without something to read or some way to take notes. 

To some students, all this talking might end up sounding like noise. They might struggle to follow the progression of the discussion from one person to the other. 

If they participate in the discussion without taking notes or reading anything along with it, they might not remember much or they might struggle to apply that discussion to the information they are supposed to learn. 

Students require certain materials (pen and paper, etc.) that may not always be available

When a student relies on reading and writing as their main method of retaining new knowledge, it can be a serious struggle on days when they don’t have access to a pen, paper, or a charged device. 

Reading and writing learners often have to fight the pull of distracting sights or sounds around them or get lost in their own thoughts. 

As an educator, if you notice your students struggling to participate in the lessons, provide them with the opportunity to read along with you or give them a way to take notes. This is easier than ever with the ActivPanel at your disposal. You can even use the polling function in ClassFlow to see how much of the information is being retained by your students. 

Promethean: Helping reading and writing learners excel

As an educator, it’s exciting to discover new ways to help your students learn – and with the advancement of edtech, you have more options to choose from than ever before. 

ActivInspire software has all the tools you need to help reading and writing learners in fantastic and engaging ways. 

Contact us to request a demo so you can see it in action. You’ll discover how much easier it is to teach with ActivInspire and interactive displays for schools by your side.