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Digital vs. Print Books - Does it make a difference?

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Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to books. Some claim they read way more using ebooks than they ever did reading print. Others say print books increase understanding of the material, and therefore are the way to go. With more and more schools incorporating digital learning into their curriculum, many parents are left wondering what is best. 

The answer isn’t as black and white as we may have first thought. While studies have shown  higher comprehension, longer engagement times, and better study habits such as taking notes, all correlate with reading printed media, that isn’t the whole story. Similar studies have shown that students who use digital media tend to have better access to newer information, faster reading times and better skimming abilities than those who read printed media. 

But what about the screens? Isn’t it bad to stare at a screen all day? It is true that prolonged periods of screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches and increased impatience and distractibility. However a lot of these issues can be mitigated by carefully thought out design. Both eBooks and eReaders that have been designed to support reading and discourage distractions have been shown to yield the same results as printed books. 

In the end, one is not necessarily better than the other. They both have pros and cons to them. It is about finding a balance of the two. Find out how to get the best parts of both worlds. What we should be focusing on, is which medium is best suited for the purpose for which we are reading. Both mediums offer skills to aid in different reading styles and using them appropriately is the direction in which the future of reading is headed.

Katelyn Merring

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