Work Traits

Read/Write Learning Style

Read/write learning style is especially helpful in situations involving a lot of facts and data, including research, analysis, strategy and writing.
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What is a read/write learning style?

Read/write learning style means that when you need to be convinced of something, you’d prefer to read it on a page or a screen. You place a lot of importance on taking in written information about concepts, person, or processes before you can reach a decision.

This doesn’t mean you need to read a book to learn. Even things like internet searches, reviews, whitepapers, reports, written proposals, emails, and manuals go a long way in informing and persuading you.

When communicating, you choose your words carefully and are known for speaking in rather long and complex sentences. You’ll admit it: Sometimes you’re even caught talking to yourself.

We call it: Reading

The level of importance you place on reading something that makes sense to you in order to be convinced and make a decision about it.

Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Leaders who have a read/write learning style

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is considered by many to be one of the greatest geniuses and entrepreneurs of the modern era. But, Must credits his intelligence to something relatively straightforward: reading.

Musk claimed he was “raised by books” in an interview with Rolling Stone, and he reportedly read up to 10 hours each day as a child—including powering through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at the age of nine. 

When asked how he learned to build rockets, Musk simply replied, “I read books.”

Malala Yousafzai

It’s tough to find someone with a greater passion for reading than activist Malala Yousafzai, considering she was shot for pursuing her education and demanding that all Pakistani girls should be able to do the same.

Yousafzai has an insatiable appetite for all sorts of books, and even says that they hold incredible power. In a speech at the opening of Europe’s largest library, she stated that “books are the weapons that defeat terrorism.”

Malala Yousafzai
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Mark Zuckerberg

As co-founder and CEO of Facebook, it’s safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg keeps a busy schedule. However, he still makes it a priority to find time to read. 

In 2015, he created an online book club in which he reads a book every two weeks. 

“Reading has given me more perspective on a number of topics—from science to religion, from poverty to prosperity, from health to energy to social justice, from political philosophy to foreign policy, and from history to futuristic fiction,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post about a reading challenge he completed.

The benefits of a read/write learning style

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Remote Work

Because you lean mostly on written communication, you thrive in settings where communication is virtual—like remote teams or cultures where emails and instant messages are frequent.

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You likely thrive when having to refer to written information, so you’re likely comfortable using data and written reports to make your decisions.

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Your desire to document information in writing means you have detailed records of projects and decisions. That documentation comes in handy if and when you need to reference it again.

The blind spots of a read/write learning style

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When written information isn’t available, you might lack confidence in decisions where you need to rely on what you see, hear, or experience.

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Written information is valuable, but it can also lack context and nonverbal cues. Make sure to supplement reading with other inputs to ensure you’re getting the whole picture.

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Busy Work

When a colleague tells you something, you’ve been known to say, “Could you send that to me in an email?” Frequent requests to write things down can seem like busy work to your co-workers.

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How to develop a read/write learning style

1) Make lists and notes.

Even if you’re used to keeping everything you need in your brain, get in the habit of writing things down—from your own to-do lists to a list of questions you want to make sure to ask in your next team meeting.

It might seem a little foreign at first, but you’ll slowly get used to documenting details. Plus, you’re simultaneously creating records that you can read and refer back to.

2) Summarize conversations.

From that team brainstorming session to that project status meeting, you have a lot of important discussions with the people you work with. 

It’s time to start putting those conversations in writing. This doesn’t need to be a verbatim account. But, following up that meeting with a quick summary of what was discussed and what the next steps are will help you get comfortable with written information—plus it keeps your team accountable.

3) Schedule time to read.

From business books to industry-relevant articles to lighthearted fiction, there’s no shortage of written content you can consume. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that often slips to the back burner.

Make it a priority by scheduling some weekly time when you can read what interests you. You might be surprised by how quickly you build a love for the written word.

4) Write while you think.

Maybe you’re trying to work through a creative problem or you’re attempting to refine a new process for your team. Stop working it out in your head and scribble things down as you think.

Putting your thoughts on paper can help you identify solutions more efficiently, while also building up your reading and writing muscles.

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