Thinking Style

There are two basic kinds of learners: Verbal and Nonverbal.

How does thinking style play a role in learning?

Video courtesy of fellow Davis Dyslexia Facilitator, Karen LoGiudice of New England Dyslexia Solutions in MA. Used with permission.

Verbal Learners

Mainly think through the sound of words

NonVerbal Learners

Mainly think in pictures

Intelligence does not play a role in the distinction between learning styles.

It is simply a difference in learning and thinking styles.

Verbal learners

Mainly think through the sound of words. Thinking verbally consists of composing sound sentences, one word at a time, at about the same speed as speech. In their mind, they hear a voice speaking to them. They can only think as fast as they can speak! Picture thinkers speed is nearly incomprehensible—the gift! Verbal thought is linear and follows the structure of language.

Nonverbal learners

Mainly think in pictures.They identify words and objects by viewing them from infinite visual perspectives. They think with 3-dimensional, multi-sensory images that evolve and grow as the thought process adds more information or concepts. This thought process happens so much faster than verbal thinking that it is often subliminal – explaining why dyslexics are often unaware of errors and images. “Picture-thinkers” experience little, if any, internal “dialogue” sounds, therefore, reading through phonics is nearly impossible, always frustrating, and sometimes painful. Attempting to teach phonics to a picture thinker is often as impossible as trying to download a Microsoft program into an Apple device!

The ability to think in 3-dimensional, multi-sensory pictures is a talent that all Dyslexics share. It can, however, cause problems and confusion when it comes to 2-dimensional symbols and abstract words.
When confused by a word’s lack of visual meaning, a picture thinker automatically views letters from multiple viewpoints—3 dimensionally. Letters will appear incorrect or distorted—b-d-p-q—one letter, but changed by turning it through multiple viewpoints. This happens with 60% of words—abstract words whose meaning cannot be easily visualized.
Verbal thought is linear and sequential:

Thinking styles

Which style are you?

Are you a verbal thinker?

Are you a non-verbal thinker?

Videos courtesy of fellow Davis Dyslexia Facilitator, Karen LoGiudice of New England Dyslexia Solutions in MA. Used with permission.

The Dyslexia Dilemma

A picture thinker can easily “picture a meaning” for words that represent objects and action verbs like: chair, pencil, run, and jump. However, they are unconsciously challenged when faced with certain abstract words like: the, was, if, and, were, in, on, as, or, that…and at least 209 others just like them (commonly known as “sight words”).

Those words are at the root of reading difficulties for a picture-thinker.

With no picture to process for each sight word, the reading material quickly loses meaning – causing confusion, frustration, and fatigue.

Consider, for a moment, that up to 60% of any written paragraph contains words that DO NOT allow a “picture thinker” to create a picture. Imagine, as a person who thinks in pictures, trying to obtain the real meaning of a paragraph when 60% of the words are words with which you cannot think!

You know how frustrating it is when a phone or device cuts out. Imagine this happening with all reading and listening at a level of 60%!

Give it a try!

Read the following passage and feel what happens to your comprehension as you read it.

Add disorientation into the mix and experience how much more confusing it can be:


What the passage really says!
Below is the original passage. Look at any typical paragraph…the average number of abstract/sight words is between 50% and 60%! This particular passage contains 62%!

See also characteristics of dyslexics for more information.

Imagination is more important than knowledge, knowledge is limited, imagination circles the world.

Albert Einstein

In order to fly, you need something solid to take off from.