Do you read better on paper?

find functionDo e-readers inhibit reading comprehension? is a very comprehensive article which looks at a number of global research projects and ideas to explore whether we read better on paper or on screen. To sum it up:

“When reading on screens, people seem less inclined to engage in what psychologists call metacognitive learning regulation — strategies such as setting specific goals, rereading difficult sections and checking how much one has understood along the way.”

In the end it concludes the differences are small but the differences which are explored along the way do apply to students and texts and are very much worth considering. Some of it is to do with how we create texts in our minds as we explore them. Some of it is to do with how we search back through texts. Searching through texts is easy but it is not our habit. It is something we have to learn, as we had to learn reading in the first place. It is also about sharing how to do that and how to approach it. When you are reading in a browser, did you know if you pres CTRL F (on a Mac COMMAND F) the screen will come up with a box so you can search for text ? Software comes with a find function even if it is not displayed. I think the message to developers is please show a search option for people to use or , at least make it obvious how you do that.

Here is another, shorter, article about how e-readers help engagement in reading. There has also been some research about how e-readers help dyslexia.

There will need to be continued studies but there also needs to be continued  teaching and learning around electronic texts in the same way there has always been teaching and learning about how to approach a print text.

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