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Reading Printed Books Is Good for You—and Your Grades

Research based on the latest PISA educational survey results shows that readers of printed books read more, enjoy reading more, understand texts better, and are likely to have better grades. This confirms previous studies on the advantages of printed books in education.


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About Ralf Schlozer

Ralf Schlözer is a technology analyst for print with 30 years’ experience in the industry and a passion for discovering new technologies and print applications. 

He is available for consulting and speaking engagements. Contact Ralf at [email protected]


By HARVEY LEVENSON on Mar 23, 2022

I fully agree with Ralf Schlozer’s commentary about the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey results: “…readers of printed books read more, enjoy reading more, understand texts better, and are likely to have better grades.”

This confirms every observation I’ve made about media impact and preference in over 40 years of teaching and studying media. I do not believe that anyone who has read a book, for example, and then observed a movie based on the book would argue that the printed version was more meaningful, pervasive, detailed, and informative than the movie. Likewise, most people would agree that a printed newspaper or news magazine provides a more detailed and meaningful experience than does the evening news on TV, social media, or Internet news reviews.

I’ve often asked my students what their preferred medium for learning is: printed books or electronic media. Invariably, the large majority selected printed books. They experienced, as the PISA survey found, that after reading a printed textbook, their test grades would be higher and their knowledge would become more ingrained and longer lasting.

However, we do realize that in today’s generation, a reliance on electronic media is what students were brought up on. When not yet knowing the value of printed books for learning their tendency is to gravitate to electronic media first—videos, websites, Google, etc. However, they soon learn that print provides a more detailed and haptic experience and is more comfortable to use. Neuroscientist Dr. David Engleman also confirms this. For example, see: https://igcbook.com/video-print-haptics-eagleman/

Realizing that today people have more media preferences than ever before, my co-author, John Parsons, and I developed a book with choices…with printing on paper being one of them. Entitled Introduction to Graphic Communication, the book is driven by Ricoh’s Clickable Paper app, providing written text for reading, but also includes, from the PRINTED book, videos of technology and lectures by prominent experts, as well as access to relevant websites, chat groups, and even communication with the book’s authors. In other words, the book provides learning choices with multiple choices as being optimum. See: www.igcbook.com

This is the first textbook ever to use Ricoh’s Clickable Paper app, and the textbook is for graphic communication/printing education, and for industry training. The book has been adopted by 25 schools and the number of adoptions is growing (high schools, technical schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities), and by companies for training new employees about the industry.

Published right before the COVID-19 breakout, the pandemic, with its school closing and distance learning, and work-from-home mandates caused an “explosion” in the use of this book, as it is ideal for remote teaching and learning. With the pandemic now subsiding, schools and companies are continuing to use the book with its multiple learning options. Here is a recent white paper with updates on interactive books using Ricoh’s Clickable Paper app https://tinyurl.com/d3m4vad5


By Chuck Werninger on Mar 30, 2022

I really enjoyed this article and agree with what Ralf and Harvey said. I think we all genuinely believe that print is a more effective learning platform than digital for most subjects, teachers and students but I'm frustrated that it's difficult to prove this with certainty to those who make the choice to invest in tools for educating students. I've been advocating to give our students the right to choose their preference because neither method is flawless. However, ask today's student how they'd prefer to learn about a complex new subject and they'll probably advocate for a live, in-person, professional educator, a printed text they can annotate while they learn and a digital copy they can use for research and referencing in their work.



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