The choice to read on print or screen has been the subject of interest for several years. The benefits of one delivery system over the other appears negligible for pleasure reading. The selection of one reading mode over the other “is inconsequential when interest is high, such as when reading for pleasure.” 

However, studies have indicated that  a “hard copy” or print version is superior to a digital text for comprehension.Printed books  are most conducive to learning from longer, more difficult texts” because print is easier to comprehend. Print reading is kind of like meditation — focusing our attention on something still.” Compared to screen-readers, print readers also demonstrated better metacognition, or a recognition of how well they understood the text. 

Digital readers, on the other hand, offer more distractions. Some experts believe that the glare and flicker of screens tax the brain more than paper.”  In fact, a new meta-study published in Education Research suggests “a six to eight-fold reduction in benefits when using digital text.”  The increasing evidence that print books surpass digital texts for comprehension may signal troubling times for educational publishers because their long term plan is to produce digital texts. Print is still king for anyone whose goal is learning. 

Laura Maniglia