What is your reading preferences?

I picked up a tradition of sending a digital correspondent in the form of a text to my children every morning.  The content is meant to encourage and guide them throughout the day.  This year my daughter joined, the tradition but her digital correspondent is sent at 7pm daily as medical facts.  On Friday May 18, 2012, she transmitted the following fact: “People generally read 25% slower from a computer screen compared to paper.”  The researcher, teacher, and reader inside me stepped into action.  The reader analyzed my preferences: kindle reader, paper, and then computer.  The teacher reflected on the behavior exhibited by my students during a directed reading activity.  Student’s choices are normally: paper, screen, and then audio.  Lastly, the researcher investigated the statement and there seems to be very little readily available research comparing print and computer readability.

           Charles Arthur (2008) article in the guardian, summarized aspects of printed and e-books.  He claims that reading on a screen is tiring, and slower.  On the other hand, he adds, with the paper you are not tempted to check your email or click on unrelated links.  Dillon, McKnight and Richardson (1988), identified five broad differences between print and screen reading (screen reading is slower, less accurate, more fatiguing, decreases comprehension and is rated inferior by readers).  They also explained 10 variables proposed as potential causes of reading differences between paper and screen (eye movement, screen dynamics, display polarity, orientation, viewing angle, user characteristics, aspect ratio, flicker, image polarity, display characteristics, and anti-aliasing).
           A search of recent comparative studies of print versus screen readability revealed results similar to Dillon et. al. (1988) research.  Cooney Joan, suggested that “children who read enhanced e-books recalled significantly fewer narrative details than children who read the print version of the same story.”  E-books are cost efficient and portable but if they are to be accessed via, a desktop or laptops then there is a need for a more reader friendly screen.  What is your reading preference?

Arthur, C. (2008).  It’s the screens, not the internet, that are making us stupid.  Retrieved from  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jul/04/charles.arthur

Convery Optometrists (n.d) Eye Facts. Retrieved from http://converyoptometrists.com/facts.aspx

Cooney, J. (2012) Print Books vs. E-Books. Retrieved from http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/upload_kits/jgcc_ebooks_quickreport.pdf

Dillon, A., McKnight, C., & Richardson, J. (1988).  Reading from paper versus reading from screens.  Retrieved from  http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~adillon/Journals/Paper%20vs%20screens.htm


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