Read, Study, Learn — What are you actually doing?

Patrick Poh
4 min readMar 3, 2023


Photo by on Unsplash

We are taught these 3 terms — “read, study, learn” since young but what’s the difference exactly? What are we trying to achieve out of the different processes?

The overall purpose of all three ought to be intake of information in the most basic level. Although the terms reading, studying, and learning are frequently used interchangeably, they are three distinct activities with unique goals and effects.

In this article, we will look at the differences between “reading, studying, and learning”, as well as how each can be used in daily life.


The act of looking at and comprehending written or printed words is known as reading. It is a fundamental skill that most people learn in their early years of school.

Reading can be done for enjoyment or for information, and it can be done for short or extended periods of time. Reading for enjoyment is typically done to unwind and escape from the rigors of daily life. It is possible to do this with a novel, a magazine, or a comic book.

Reading for information, on the other hand, is done to obtain knowledge or to comprehend a certain subject. It is possible to do this with a textbook, a newspaper, or an online article.

Reading a novel before night, for example, is a good way to unwind after a hard day. Reading a news article on current events is a good method to remain up to date on what is going on in the globe.


The act of devoting time and effort to learning and understanding a subject or topic is known as studying. It entails actively engaging with the content and can take several forms, including reading, taking notes, reviewing, and practicing.

Typically, studying is done to achieve a specific purpose, such as passing an exam, acquiring a new skill, or preparing for a presentation. It necessitates concentration, focus, and discipline.

For example, studying for an exam entail reviewing notes, reading textbooks, and practicing problems. Learning grammar principles, practicing vocabulary, and listening to native speakers are all part of learning a new language.


The process of obtaining knowledge or skills through study, experience, or teaching is known as learning. It is an ongoing process that can occur at any moment and in any location.

Learning entails not only collecting information but also applying it in real-world circumstances. Formal and informal learning are both possible.

Formal learning entails formal educational programs such as attending school or enrolling in a course.

Informal learning occurs outside of the classroom and can be self-directed or guided by others.

Learning a new skill, such as cooking, entails studying videos, practicing recipes, and obtaining feedback from others. Learning about a new culture entail witnessing its customs, tasting its cuisine, and conversing with its people.

Differences between Reading, Studying, and Learning

While reading, studying, and learning all include the acquisition of knowledge or information, their goals, techniques, and consequences differ.

Reading is mainly a Passive Activity in which you look at and comprehend written or printed words. It is usually done for entertainment or information, with the objective of entertaining or informing.

In contrast, studying is an Active Activity that entails devoting time and effort to learning and comprehending a subject or topic. It is frequently done to achieve a specific objective, such as passing an exam or learning a new skill. Studying necessitates concentration, focus, and discipline.

Learning is a continual process in which knowledge or skills are acquired through study, experience, or teaching. It can occur at any time and in any location, with the purpose of applying information in actual circumstances.

Examples from Daily Activities

To better understand the differences between reading, studying, and learning, here are some examples of how they can be applied in daily activities.

Example 1: Cooking

Reading: Reading a cookbook to get ideas for dinner.

Studying: Studying a cookbook to learn new techniques and recipes.

Learning: Learning to cook by watching videos, practicing recipes, and receiving feedback from others.

Example 2: Art

Reading: Reading art history books to learn about different artistic movements and styles.

Studying: Studying art techniques and practicing them to develop artistic skills.

Learning: Learning how to appreciate art by visiting museums, attending art exhibitions, and discussing art with others.

Example 3: Fitness

Reading: Reading a fitness magazine to get workout ideas.

Studying: Studying exercise science to learn about the benefits of different types of exercises and how to create effective workout plans.

Learning: Learning how to exercise by attending fitness classes, hiring a personal trainer, and tracking progress.

Example 4: Investing

Reading: Reading financial news articles to stay up-to-date on market trends.

Studying: Studying investing strategies and analyzing market data to make informed investment decisions.

Learning: Learning how to invest by attending investment seminars, participating in stock market simulations, and seeking advice from financial experts.


Reading, studying, and learning are all valuable activities that can help people gain knowledge and abilities.

While they have some similarities, their goals, tactics, and outcomes are not and knowing these distinctions can assist individuals in selecting the most appropriate activity for their learning objectives and preferences.

Individuals can continuously develop themselves and attain their goals through these activities, whether it is reading for enjoyment, studying to acquire a new skill, or learning through practical experience.