The Art of Reading Well-Blog Post #2

Anyone Can Read. Right?


That is why I have developed my personal system to becoming an “expert reader”.

Author Brian Clark suggests, not everyone is “good” at reading in his article “How To Read”.

According to Clark, there are four types of readers:

  1. Elementary
  2. Inspectional
  3. Analytical
  4. Syntopical

(Clark, 2008)

Below is a brief synopsis of each type:

The first is someone who can read a sentence based on grammar and vocabulary at the most basic level (Clark, 2008).

The second type of reader is someone who has a pre-motivated intention of finding specific information. They just “scan” a document to locate key words or phrases much in the same way SEO works (Clark 2008). This type of reader also accounts for those who read for the sake of reading (Clark, 2008).

The third type of reader is someone who can comprehend the information in its basic form, and compartmentalize it in his or her head to enhance their comprehension (Clark, 2008). In doing so, they identify key terms and points of contention leading into an informed discussion (Clark, 2008).

The final type of reader is someone who can draw meaningful connections between external knowledge and experiences to the information they have just processed (Clark, 2008). By doing so, this person becomes an expert on the chosen subject in their rights (Clark, 2008).

Drawing on Clark’s hierarchy, I have devised 3 easy steps to become an “expert” reader:

Step 1. Know your grammar, spelling and understand the importance of tone: If you don’t understand the basics of writing, you cannot fully comprehend the written word. Regarding tone, most authors use a particular one to enhance their writing styles. For example, if an author is sarcastic, it usually means they disagree with a subject, or they are criticizing a subject. To me, this first step plays into the first two levels of basic reading comprehension.

Step 2. Read Between The Lines: To advance into what Clark considers “The Analytical Reader” I have to be able to not only read what is in plain sight but also identify concepts within. See if I can clearly divide the information into the traditional storyboard quadrants: A) Introduction, B) Middle, C) End or Conclusion (Algonquin College, 2012). I can also think of the end as the beginning, and ask myself what is the main point (s) the author is making?

Step 3. Think Outside The Page: Now I can draw on information not contained within the text at hand. I ask myself “What other information have I read that is either similar to or contradicts the text in front of me?” Going through this thought process and creating these connections will help to develop a unique analysis of the information and provide substance for questions. Now I can become a “Syntopical Reader”, an expert on the subject matter through a unique perspective (Clark, 2008).

These are my three steps to becoming an expert reader and aiding in becoming a better writer by knowing and understanding how people can read your work. Please take the time to read my post and see if you can come up with something better!


Algonquin College. Lesson 2: Becoming a digital storyteller [PDF document]. Retrieved from

Clark, B. (August 27, 2008). How to read. Retrieved from

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