Dominant or Submissive: Which Kind of Reader are You?

When I ask, “are you a dominant reader?“, I’m not asking if you grab the book before you read it and declare, “I AM GOING TO READ YOU!” I’m asking if you are in control of your reading.

Take a look at these two students. Which one is submissive and which one is dominant?

Sarah found a book that was on the reading list for her assignment. She read the whole book. It was quite difficult to read and it took a long time. She spent a while using her translator to help her with words that she didn’t know.

Simon found a book that was on the reading list for his assignment. He looked at the contents page and found a chapter that was relevant to his assignment. He skimmed it first, and then read it in depth. After that, he checked the index at the back of the book for any interesting pages. He only read a few sections which were related to his assignment.

So, which one is the dominant reader?

If you said Simon, well done! Poor Sarah is a submissive reader, which means she is wasting a lot time. I bet she finds it really difficult to find useful information when doing research.

Let’s look at the main differences between submissive and dominant readers

  What do Submissive Readers do? What do Dominant Readers do?
Reading Philosophy:

How do they approach reading?

They try to read and understand the whole text. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. They define a clear purpose before they read.
Reading Strategies:

What processes do they use?

They read everything in detail. They check everything they don’t know in a translator or dictionary They use a variety of reading strategies. They know when to skim, scan and read for detail.
Information in Texts:

What’s their opinion of the information in a text?

They believe all of the information in a text is important. They try to find answers to specific questions. They know that some information will not be relevant to them.
Critical thinking:

Do they question the text?

They accept the opinions and ideas in a text as true statements. They evaluate and respond to ideas in a text. They try to form their own opinions.
  The text is in control The reader is in control


Now the question is, are you a Sarah or a Simon?

If you’re a Simon, congratulations, you can stop reading now! Go and read this guide about effective reading strategies.

If you’re a Sarah, now is the time to take control.

What kind of reader do you think she is?

How Can You Become a Dominant Reader?

Study the characteristics of dominant readers and try to apply them to yourself. Here are some ideas to help you make the change:

  • If you try to read everything: try skimming more.
  • If you start reading a book at the beginning: try using the contents page more.
  • If you believe everything you read: try questioning the author’s claims.
  • If you read a text thinking everything is going to be useful: write down some questions that you want to find the answer to before you start reading.
  • If you translate every word you don’t understand: try ignoring the words that you don’t know.

Final Words

A dominant reader is a more efficient reader, but it is also takes practice. Don’t give up if it is hard to begin with because it can save you a lot of stress and headache in the future. A good essay comes from a good plan, which comes from good research.

Dominant readers and Effective readers share some common characteristics. Check out this post to see some strategies used by Effective Readers.


2 thoughts on “Dominant or Submissive: Which Kind of Reader are You?”

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