Reading Books in Print Isn’t Just Retro, It’s Good for Your Brain!

In a world moving at the speed of the internet, we’ve come to a point where we can do almost anything we want on our devices. We live in a world that’s looking for the most convenient way to get everything done. And that world thinks our devices are the answer.

A lot of people believe the best way to read these days is through the ever-convenient e-books. Some parties do not agree.

Studies Question Validity of Screen Reading

A 2018 study compared readers using both print and digital formats. The results, outlined in Educational Research Review, showed people who read print had a better comprehension of the material than those who read digital text. The Guardian reported in a 2014 story that individuals using a Kindle couldn’t recall events in a mystery novel that people who read the print version could.

Is Print Better?

Patricia Alexander of the University of Maryland in College Park delves into the world of print versus on-screen reading years ago, especially its relation to students. Her findings show that students think they develop better learning with digital reading, but after testing, they had less information than students reading hard copies.


Evidence shows words on paper convey information more effectively than words on a screen.

We tend to read faster on screen. (We are all in a get-‘er-done-fast-on-the-net mode.) That approach to reading is sufficient for social media and text messages. The issue is with smaller screens, all the scrolling needed to read large bodies of text makes retention harder. Subconsciously, we may even spend more time scanning as our straining eyes struggle to follow.

Is This Good for Kids?

Reading actual books increases brain power and makes you smarter. We instinctively read more carefully when a book’s in our hands.

Apps developed to teach reading can provide core skills but, according to assistant professor of pediatrics Dr Jenny Radesky, relies on “gamification meant to keep children engaged.” The platforms unravel teaching as a meaning maker and accentuate curricular components without personalization.

Current generations cannot imagine a world without devices. But younger children need encouragement that keeps them reading print books. It not only promotes focus and comprehension. The process develops greater interaction between children, parents, and teachers.

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