Commentary & Analysis
It’s Time to Take the 15 Page a Day Challenge… and Share it with Friends!
This past July, the Paper and Packaging Board launched its 15 Pages a Day Challenge, which encourages everyone to commit to reading 15 pages each day. This article cites recent research to highlight the benefits of reading on paper and also provides information on the challenge.
By Barb Pellow
Published: October 5, 2017
The past few years have been full of social media challenges — some of them were for fun, some were for charity, and some were downright bizarre! Although these challenges are usually short-lived, they spread quickly across social media networks. The resulting YouTube videos and photos ultimately become lodged in our pop culture even after the frenzy of uploading content dies down. In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while also raising $109 million for the charity. During 2016, the Mannequin Challenge became a social media sensation.
Here Comes a New Challenge!
The Paper and Packaging Board launched a new challenge of its own this past July, and I encourage everyone to participate. The 15 Pages a Day Challenge is a paper-based reading program that’s great for people of all ages and literacy levels. Parents can take the pledge by reading aloud to their kids, or business professionals can print out e-mails for ease of reference and better note-taking. The overarching message is that reading on paper has benefits for everyone — and this is definitely not “fake news”!
According to Joan Sahlgren, Senior Director of Public Relations for the Paper and Packaging Board, “The springboard for the idea was the release of our third annual Back-to-School Report this July, which really highlights the importance of print in the learning process.” The Paper and Packaging Board report includes a survey of more than 1,400 individuals aged 13 – 60 across the United States. All of these respondents were either in school (grades 7 – 12 or college) or the parent of a child in grades K-12.
Findings from the Report
The third annual Back-to-School report had several critical findings. Parents understand the important role that paper plays in learning and retention. Consider the following statistics:
- 96% of parents think that paper is an essential part of a child’s ability to achieve educational goals.
- Of the parents that read to their kids daily, 81% are using paper books.
- 89% of parents agree that their child remembers assignments better when he or she writes them down on paper.
- 72% of parents report that they’ve seen their children struggle to stay focused when completing homework on a computer or tablet.
- 95% of parents report that they’ve seen their children excelling when completing homework on paper.
Although today’s junior high and high school students live very rich digital lives, the results from this survey indicate that they still prefer paper when it comes to learning. For example:
- 70% of junior high and high school students prepare for tests by taking handwritten notes
- 58% fill out paper worksheets to study for tests and quizzes
- 60% make and use flash cards
Although they are often deemed as tech- and media-savvy, college students also show a preference for paper and printed materials:
- 50% report that the best way to learn new information is to write it down by hand.
- 93% agree that paper is an essential part of their ability to achieve educational goals.
- 81% often use paper tools to prepare for exams.
Dr. Naomi Baron, Professor of Linguistics at American University in Washington D.C., may have summed it up best when she said, “Students tell us they remember more when reading in print. Not surprisingly, some report spending more time when reading print and reading more carefully than they do with digital texts.”
So What is the 15 Pages a Day Challenge?
The research is so compelling that the Paper and Packaging Board decided to issue a challenge. The How Life Unfolds campaign asks everyone to make a pledge to read 15 pages a day. Regular reading provides numerous benefits, including improved memory and language as well as increased mental development. People can participate in this challenge in a variety of ways:
- Parents: Pledge to read 15 pages a day from a printed book to your children. Reading aloud aids in language development, instills a love of reading, and increases understanding of how knowledge is gained and shared.
- Adults: Print out e-mails for reference or note-taking, read the latest industry publications to stay informed, or simply read a book for enjoyment and escape.
- Students: Take a break and read a book for pleasure—in addition to your educational materials!
Over the years, the Paper and Packaging Board has done a fantastic job at promoting the role of paper in today’s communications. In addition to social media and solid public relations, the board has created a series of TV advertisements that are meaningful and touching. These commercials emphasize how paper and packaging help us stay thoughtfully connected to the people around us. They emphasize the importance of handwritten notes and the lasting impressions they make and also explore how packaging can create a bond with the brands we love. The following advertisements can be viewed and shared on YouTube:
To promote the 15 Pages a Day challenge, the Paper and Packaging Board partnered with actress Tia Mowry to help get people involved. Mowry states, “As a busy working mom who cherishes a nighttime reading routine with my son, I’m excited to partner with the Paper and Packaging Board on the How Life Unfolds campaign and promote reading 15 pages a day.” To date, over 1,800 people have taken the pledge.
The Bottom Line: Please Take the Challenge!
As a grandparent, a volunteer for a reading program with a group of first graders, and a businesswoman, the 15 Pages a Day Challenge has great meaning to me personally. I’ve taken my own pledge, and I encourage everyone reading this article to do the same. In addition to fostering knowledge in our own industry, reading more can enrich everyone’s personal growth and satisfaction. Signing up is easy, so let’s all take the challenge to read a little more! Please visit http://www.howlifeunfolds.com/15pages/ for more information.