The Three Types of Reading

You are an intelligent person. I mean look at you, reading this article for starters. It shows that you are curious and want to see if I’ve got anything interesting to say. No doubt you already engage in all three types of reading, you just haven’t had a way to describe it yet. Let’s dive in starting with my personal favorite type of reading – transportive.

Transportive Reading

Also called immersive reading, this is fiction reading at it’s best. While all three types of reading have their own benefits, this type tends to be the most enjoyable for most people. These are the books the reader craves, the stories they love, and the authors that they’ll follow to the end of the earth. When we talk about a transportive book, we’re talking about a story so immersive that it take our minds to a whole new world for a while. The oft referenced Harry Potter is an excellent example because it’s so immersive.

Every one has a different perfect story. For some, this might be a cozy romance. For others it might be an epic fantasy. What people love to read is a direct reflection of what brings them joy. Cozy romance readers rejoice when two perfect people meet and after several challenges come together in a beautiful satisfying relationship. Epic fantasy readers cheer when their hero overcomes overwhelming odds and the hardest challenges. Horror readers delight in the thrill of survival against something truly awful.

If it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a book that takes your brain to weird and wonderful places, I’d encourage you to indulge yourself. Not only is this form of reading entertaining, it also reduces stress. Win!

Educational Reading

On a completely different side of the store are books written to educate. While these can also be very entertaining, their goal is to allow readers to gain a greater understanding of a topic. They also might have an agenda and want to persuade readers into a new way of thinking. The best of these books also contain elements of transportive reading and immerse the reader in a new world of ideas and concepts.

Again, what readers choose to read is as varied as there are readers. Those attracted to histories and biographies are fascinated about who and what brought about significant events and why it was possible. By reading, they are transported inside someone else’s life and/or time period and experience the world through a different set of eyes.

There are also those books that take a deep look at a single concept through time, such as how mosquitos have influenced society over thousands of years or how cultural and social pressures have shaped human evolution. Reading books like this offer a different type of insight to the human experience as well as offer fascinating new ideas about how the world works.

As with fiction, there are dozens of categories of non-fiction to explore, and all for different reasons. Maybe you have a problem to solve. Maybe it’s to help you in your career. Maybe you are looking to learn more about a hobby. For any want out there, there’s going to be a book for it. These books do require more attention and thought and therefore should be saved for when you’re relaxed and ready to focus.

Distraction Reading

Can also be known as mindless reading. If you were scrolling social media and found this post, then you were reading as a distraction from something else. Maybe you’re taking a break from a more challenging task, or have a few minutes between activities, or simply have no energy to do something else right now. Regardless of how you got here, you are using reading as a distraction.

Generally, the things we read when we’re looking for a distraction are short and entertaining, but, barring a few exceptions, don’t have much depth. We’re looking at cute pictures and videos, reading Buzzfeed articles, and taking quizzes to find out what our hairstyle says about our personality. Usually, most of what’s consumed is forgotten in the course of hours, if not minutes. It’s the junk food of reading.

And just like junk food, it’s not particularly fulfilling. Nonetheless, we crave these micro bites of entertainment as a distraction from doing harder things.

This type of reading does have it’s place. Think of it as a pressure release valve for when you come up against a task that you know will be challenging and need a moment to not think about it. Or, you’ve hit a point in the middle of working on something where you need a break that doesn’t require brainpower. It’s a nice break.

What’s Better?

It’s not my intention to elevate any one type of reading over another. My intention is just the opposite. I say that we need a healthy balance of all three types of reading to fill different needs. There are times when we need that sweeping escape into a fantasy world and others where we wish to learn. There are times when we need a distraction and only have a few minutes.

What I’d love to encourage is a greater focus on more mindful reading. Instead of always defaulting to distraction reading when the opportunity arises, I’d love readers to consider what they are craving and what they have time to appreciate. If there really is only five or ten minutes between other activities, then sure, scroll away! But, if there’s an hour or an afternoon where there’s not much else to do, I’ve love to see more people indulge in the feast of words waiting to be read.


Thank you for joining me as I shared my thoughts on the types of reading today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, joining my Facebook group, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

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